The last weekend before children go to bed with dreams of dancing sugar plums, the Sugar Plum Fairy takes the stage at the 7th St. Theatre. This will be the fourth year the Lighthouse Ballet Academy in Hoquiam has produced “The Nutcracker.”
This version of “The Nutcracker” is not based on the Maurice Sendak storybook, but takes from the original ballet from 1892.
While the classic Nutcracker and Mouse King are in both renditions, the original version includes some different elements, such as bats, butterflies and a shepard with his flock. Modern technology decorates the set with a large projector screen showing wintery imagery, such as slowly falling snow during the iconic “Waltz of the Snowflakes.”
The first scene will be of a party, where young Clara receives the gift of a Nutcracker from her eccentric godfather.
Prima ballerina Bailey Smith, 12, plays the Sugar Plum Fairy and has been dancing ballet for three years. As one of the more advanced dancers, she has one of the title roles. However, not everyone on stage has been involved with the academy for so long.
This Grays Harbor production has dancers ranging widely in age and experience.
Jill Smith, a dancer in the performance who is also a student at the Lighthouse Ballet Academy, said that there is room for everyone, especially for those interested in pursuing dance.
“The training is pretty rigorous and there’s a lot expected of the kids,” she said. “Every thing from the placement of the hands to the tilt of the head is refined through reinforcement and training. It’s almost like a form of living sculpture.”
Those who are new to the production are often cast as soldiers and mice. Bailey Smith played a soldier three years ago.
“It’s just so much fun to be out there,” she said. “Even if it’s a little scary to be one of the leads.”
Often the dancers do not have just one set of moves to memorize. Isabel Harnagy, 11, plays a puppet, the Snow Queen and the Flower Queen. Four years ago, she joined the Lighthouse Ballet and played Clara in “The Nutcracker” as her first role.
“I keep doing ballet because I love that I can express myself and it’s always fun to dance with friends,” she said.
For Josiah Lowder, 14, who plays the Prince Nutcracker, it’s all about the challenge.
“With a lot of sports, you have to be in shape and know what you’re doing, but in ballet, you not only have to be in really great shape and really know what you’re doing, but also look good while doing it,” he said. “ … Everything has to be perfect because you only get one show to impress people.”
One of the most challenging aspects of this year for both dancers was Lowder and Bailey Smith’s performance of the “Dance of the Prince and the Sugar Plum Fairy” at Seabrook earlier this month.
“We had about 20 percent of it memorized and down and then suddenly had to learn the final 80 percent in one day,” he said.
The Lighthouse Conservatory of Dance Theater and Culture sponsors this production and Seabrook provided a grant to help dancers pay for training.
“The Nutcracker” is playing this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
7th St. Theater
Dec. 20 at 7 p.m.
Dec. 21 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Dec. 22 at 2 p.m.
Tickets available at Harbor Drug in Hoquiam and Rosevears Music in Aberdeen:
$5 kids, seniors, veterans
Free for children three and under
On Friday evening, students are free with paid adult ticket