Show at Lakeridge for the first time

by: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Audrey Wells of Lakeridge High, left, and Madeline Robertson of Lake Oswego High have major roles in the upcoming Nutcracker and Holiday Showcase in Lake Oswego. Dancer Jonas Berger also is involved in the show.A Lake Oswego High School senior and a Lakeridge High School senior are among an elite group of principals starring in “The Nutcracker” and Holiday Showcase this month.

Madeline Robertson of LOHS will be the Sugar Plum Fairy, a lead role, and Audrey Wells of Lakeridge also has major roles as the Snow Queen and Dew Drop Fairy. The ninth annual production Dec. 15 will be the work of about 145 dancers from Westside Dance & Gymnastics Academy in Tigard.

It’s the first time the holiday dance exhibition has come to Lakeridge High. The venue changes each year so the dancers, who are mostly from the greater Portland metro area, can shine in their own communities. Last year, the event was in REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Local teens Audrey Wells, left, and Madeline Robertson are practicing for The Nutcracker and Holiday Showcase this month with help from fellow performer Jonas Berger of Beaverton.

Performing is an important part of the academy’s curriculum, said Sarah Jakubowski, Westside accelerated dance director.

“It just opens their eyes to what’s out there,” Jakubowski said.

The second half of the show is devoted to a series of small groups performing tap, jazz, contemporary and hip hop routines, and the first half is Westside’s presentation of “The Nutcracker.”

“The Nutcracker” is a two-act ballet that debuted in 1892 and is set to Tchaikovsky’s well-known score.

“The music is just really beautiful,” said Wells, 18.

Her mom, Sarah Wells, said she’s very proud of her daughter, who came a little later to dancing than most — eighth grade. She said the combination of passion for dance and technique makes her daughter fantastic on her SUBMITTED PHOTO: PAMELA ROBERTSON - Madeline Robertson of Lake Oswego High partnered with Josh Murray for a dance as Snow Queen and King at The Nutcracker and Holiday Showcase last year in Tigard.

“She’s got a particular quality of movement, too, that I think makes her special,” Sarah Wells said. “There’s something undefinable.”

Audrey Wells said she’s looking forward to the showcase.

“It’s a fun show,” she said. “There’s a lot of people from the area in it, so that’s exciting to see.”

Some details change depending on the director, but the core story of “The Nutcracker” focuses on a child, usually named Clara or Marie. She falls asleep on Christmas Eve, her mind conjuring a world featuring a nutcracker her talented, toy-making grandfather created for entertainment that evening. Clara and the nutcracker, who transforms into a prince, dance through a fantasy world full of curious characters such as the Sugar Plum Fairy, Mouse King, Snow Queen and Dew Drop SUBMITTED PHOTO - Audrey Wells of Lakeridge High has performed in major roles at previous Nutcracker and Holiday Showcases that Westside Dance & Gymnastics Academy in Tigard has produced.

“I’ve been dreaming of being the Sugar Plum Fairy ever since I first started doing ballet in the fifth grade,” said Robertson, 18.

Her ballet instructor chose her for the role after a period of observation from August to October.

Robertson, who also has played the Snow Queen and Dew Drop in Westside’s production of “The Nutcracker,” will perform alongside her younger sister, Peyton, a member of the flute corps. She said that makes it special, plus she’s going on to college and it will be her last time in the Westside showcase.

“So, it’s nice to kind of have my last one in my hometown, and it’s a really beautiful theater too, so I’m really excited about it,” Robertson said.

Her father, Kevin Robertson, said it is the first time Peyton, who was ill for a while, has been on stage since she got out of the hospital in May. He said he and his wife, Pam, are really proud of their girls.

“The dance program is really rigorous,” he said. “It takes a lot of practice time and effort, and they have to give up a lot of their school activities.”

How to attend

What: Ninth Annual “Nutcracker” and Holiday Showcase

When: Noon and 4 p.m. Dec. 15

Where: Lakeridge High School auditorium, 1235 Overlook Drive, Lake Oswego

Cost: $15 per ticket

Tickets: Available at the door. To buy an advance ticket, call 503-639-5388 or visit Westside Dance & Gymnastics Academy at 11632 SW Pacific Highway, Tigard.

Jillian Daley can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and 503-636-1281, ext. 109. Follow her on Twitter, @jilliandaley.

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