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.


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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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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