Ballet Workshop dancers perform a scene from a special staging of “The Nutcracker.”

Ballet Workshop dancers perform a scene from a special staging of “The Nutcracker.”

Special ‘Nutcracker’ production set in 1895 Port Angeles

Ballet Workshop’s staging set for Saturday and Sunday

PORT ANGELES — A version of “The Nutcracker” told through the lens of the North Olympic Peninsula, celebrating everything about it, will be presented Saturday and Sunday.

Ballet Workshop’s special staging of “The Nutcracker” is set in 1895 in Port Angeles.

It follows the American family of Marie and Frank Smith, who live on a farm in Mount Angeles, on Christmas Eve.

The story incorporates real-life characters from the area’s history such as Gregers M. Lauridsen and locations like Hurricane Ridge and the Sequim lavender fields.

The 90-minute production will be presented at 7 p.m. Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Port Angeles High School Performing Arts Center, 304 E. Park Ave.

Advance tickets range from $18 to $38 with youth 14 and younger admitted for $10 each. They are available at jffa.org and at Port Book and News in Port Angeles and Dungeness Kids Co. in Sequim.

Tickets at the door will be $5 more.

At the conclusion of the Sunday matinee, 10 dancers will be presented onstage with scholarships by Mayor Sissi Bruch.

“This year we have partnered with First Federal Bank and Pacific Northwest Ballet to present over $3,000 in scholarships to local students,” said Kate Robbins, artistic director for the Ballet Workshop, who choreographed and directed the production.

More than 90 local dancers and theater artists are in the show, which marks the Ballet Workshop’s 50th anniversary.

To celebrate the milestone, Ballet Workshop invited principal dancers of Seattle’s Pacific Northwest Ballet, Noelani Pantastico and William Lin-Yee, to guest as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Nutcracker Prince.

This version of The Nutcracker premiered in December 2015. For the first time this year, the roles of Snow Queen and Bee will be performed by locally trained Ballet Workshop students, who will perform closely alongside professional Pacific Northwest Ballet artists, said Robbins.

Isabella Knott, 14, of Port Angeles and Ava Johnson, 13, of Sequim share the Act 2 lead role of Bee, who dances alongside the Sugar Plum and Nutcracker.

The Act 1 lead role of Snow Queen will be danced by two Ballet Workshop students — Emily Spink, 17, of Sequim and Courtney Smith, 15, of Port Angeles.

Four youngsters aged 9 through 11 share the lead roles of Marie and Frank.

Ballet Workshop dancers are from 3 to 18 years old. They begin preparations in mid-September, rehearsing once or twice a week for 10 to 12 weeks.

Some of the sets are hand-crafted by Clallam County artists Blythe McGiveron and Chuck Rondeau. Backdrops of the Olympic Mountains and Sequim lavender fields were created by two theatrical companies in Indiana and California.

Ballet Workshop faculty member Noah Long staged the show, assisted by Tiffany Gillespie and Anna Pederson.

The Nutcracker is a two-act ballet originally choreographed in 1892 by Marius Petipa and set to an original score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The libretto is adapted from E.T.A. Hoffmann’s story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.”

This is the fifth year that Ballet Workshop has collaborated with the Juan de Fuca Festival of the Arts.

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