Local ballet students perform ‘Scenes from The Nutcracker’

Ballet students at Columbia Gorge Dance Academy will once again present their gift to the community, “Scenes from The Nutcracker,” in three performances Dec. 14 and 15 in the Hood River Middle School auditorium.

This is the 16th annual benefit performance for FISH and Providence Hospice of the Gorge. The public is invited to come see this traditional holiday ballet for the admission price of canned food for FISH, or a cash donation for Providence Hospice of the Gorge.

Nancy Clement, ballet director at Columbia Gorge Dance Academy, merges her experience of dancing in “The Nutcracker” ballet when she danced professionally with Ballet West, a ballet company in Salt Lake City, Utah, and her enthusiasm to share this traditional ballet with her students.

“Scenes from The Nutcracker” began when her students danced at the local senior centers: Providence Down Manor, Parkhurst House and the Hood River Care Center. Community interest began to grow, as did the number of dancers, and so this production was moved to the stage and opened to the public as an annual fund-raiser.

WHEN & WHERE

Performance times are Saturday, 1 and 4 p.m., and Sunday, 2 p.m. Each performance will feature a different cast.

Ansley Bricker and Hunter Peterson, seniors at Hood River Valley High School, along with Alexa Lindley, a junior, will share the lead roles of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Bricker, Peterson and Anneke Virk all dance as the Snow Queen, in the beautiful Snow Scene created by Margaret Dallman. The coveted role of Clara is shared by Chloe Clark (Saturday, 1 p.m. performance), Myla Blachly (Saturday, 4 p.m.) and Laura Walker (Sunday, 2 p.m.). Lena Parsons, Hailey Olson and Lyra Pennington-Davis are sharing the role of Fritz, Clara’s naughty brother.

The Mechanical Dolls this year are Ansley Bricker, Dhora Daluz and Maddie Wood, and the Dancing Bears will be Anna Ticknor, Luke Southall and Casey Holzman.

Returning to the cast this year are Gavin McAlpine, who plays the role of Herr Drosselmeyer, the town toy maker; Rachel Harry, Hood River Valley High School drama teacher, as the maid; and Steve and Theresa Mason as Host and Hostess.

Several local parents are learning the Grandfather Dance in the Party Scene. In all, about 400 local students participate in this traditional holiday ballet.

The majority of the ballet is staged by Nancy Clement, based on the version by the late Willam F. Christensen, the first American credited with choreographing “The Nutcracker.” Theresa Mason is assistant director and rehearsal assistant.

Liesl Peterson has refurbished the Sugar Plum and Dew Drop Fairy tutus this year by hand-sewing all the sequins and lace. Douglas Hawksworth will be adding some special touches to the scenery. Rachel Harry and her students from the HRVHS drama department volunteer with lighting and backstage assistance.

Numerous parents come forward each year as “Helping Moms and Dads,” donating money for sets and costumes and lending their support to ensure a successful production.

“It is truly a community event!” says Clement.

For more information contact Clement at 541-386-6044.

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