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Ballet Students To Perform Nutcraker

Two performances of "Scenes from The Nutcracker" will be held on Dec. 8 at Hood River Middle School.

On Saturday, Dec. 8, there will be two performances of "Scenes from The Nutcracker" at the Hood River Middle School, performed by ballet students of the Columbia Gorge Dance Academy.

This is the fourth annual benefit performance for FISH and Hospice of the Gorge.

Performance times are 1 and 4 p.m. Different casts will perform at each time.

Nancy Clement, ballet director at the Gorge academy, danced in The Nutcracker over 100 times a year as a professional dancer with Ballet West, a ballet company in Salt Lake City, Utah. Her experience and excitement merge as she shares these traditional holiday dances with her students.

"Scenes from The Nutcracker" began in Hood River with performances at local senior centers. Community interest began to grow, and three years ago the production was moved to the stage and opened to the public as a fundraiser.

Laurissa Pennington and Nicole Sherrell, both seniors at Hood River High School, will share the lead role of the Sugar Plum Fairy. Julie Stanley and Rachel Nice will dance the role of Clara. Karl Priest, a middle school teacher in The Dalles, masterfully performs the role of Drosselmeyer, the town toy maker. Dolls will be danced by Lydia Diers and Allison Byers and the Bears by Christa Chandler and Ariel MacMillan. The Snow Queen will be danced by Krista Apland and Maddie Priest and Hannah Jacobson will share the role of the Dew Drop Fairy.

A new "fight scene," the battle between the mice and the soldiers, is added to this year's performance.

The majority of the ballet is staged by Nancy Clement, based on the version by the late William C. Christensen, the first person in America to choreograph The Nutcracker.

The public is invited to see this traditional holiday ballet by bringing canned food for FISH, or a cash donation for Hospice.

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