Nutcracker Guide

It's the holiday season in the mid-valley, and as children are counting down the days until Christmas, families are participating in annual community traditions, like seeing "The Nutcracker" ballet.

For more than 25 years, artistic director Shelly Svodoba of the Chamber Ballet of Corvallis and Regional School of Ballet, and community members have presented the Corvallis community "Nutcracker." Some of the dancers began as children, performing as mice and have advanced to lead roles as they've gotten older. Some guests in the party scene have been involved in the production since the beginning.

Entering its sixth year in Albany, Heather Hill, owner and choreographer, has made Legacy Ballet's "Nutcracker" performance at Linn-Benton Community College a family and community tradition. Hill's husband, Brandon, and their daughter, Bekah, dance every year, along with a cast of 80 returning dancers.

Here are details about each production, so viewers can decide which one (or both) they would like to see.

Corvallis Community Nutcracker

Who's in it: Around 100 dancers and participants, kids age 7 and above to adults as old as 65, including guests from Rainbow Dance Theatre.

Notable dancers: Community members Rick Wallace and Bruce Givan have performed as Drosselmeyer and the Mouse King for 20 years. This is Givan's final year.

What's new: Shelly Svodoba says "There is some new choreography."

Fun extras: Every year The Mouse King Tea Party is held at Corvallis High School to introduce young children to "The Nutcracker" story and its characters. Refreshments are served by dancers.

What you should know: This year the Regional School of Ballet is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

Why you should go: "People should come to this show, because it is a gift to our community from everyone in the show. It is a special show, which is why our performers come back every year," Svodoba said.

Date, time, tickets: 7 p.m. Dec. 8-9, and 2 p.m. Dec. 9, Corvallis High School Theater, 1400 NW Buchanan Ave. Tickets: $15 at the door or advance at Burst's Candies.

The Mouse King Tea Party, noon, Dec. 9, Corvallis High School. Tickets: $8 at the door or advance at Burst's Candies.

Legacy Ballet Nutcracker

Who's in it: Legacy has 85 dancers, ages 6 to 18-years-old, plus a dozen adults.

Notable dancers: Heather Hill and her husband, Brandon, often perform as the Nutcracker and Mouse King, who have a fight scene. This battle usually gets laughs from fellow dancers.

What's new: Hill says they've added more costumes as the cast grows, and made subtle changes in choreography. But, overall, why mess with a good thing?

Fun extras: The Sunday before its Nutcracker performances, Legacy hosts the Sugar Plum Fairy Ball at its studio to introduce children, who may be too young to sit through the full production, to the story and characters. It is a free event.

What you should know: For each ticket sold Legacy Ballet donates $1 to FISH of Albany, as well as all of the proceeds from its food concessions.

Why you should go: "There are so many different 'Nutcracker' performances that entertained countless families each holiday season for years around the world. We feel honored we are able to provide Albany with this tradition, and hope our community enjoys it year after year," Hill said.

Date, time, tickets: 7 p.m. Dec. 7-9, and 2 p.m. Dec. 9, Russell Tripp Performance Center, Takena Hall, 6500 Pacific Blvd. SW, Albany. Tickets: $14 at the door or advance:

Don't forget: Can't get enough "Nutcracker" from these two productions? The Eugene Ballet Company will perform its concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 17, at the LaSells Stewart Center. Tickets are $27-$38, available in advance online at