There will be tutus and Tchaikovsky, magic, and mystery – necessary ingredients for all Nutcrackers. However, this one-of-a-kind production will also feature beavers fighting fur trappers, dancing wapato plants, and Oregon Trail children arriving via covered wagon as local Fort Vancouver history is weaved into the plot of a classical ballet.
Audiences will find themselves at a holiday party in the Chief Factor’s dining room of 1840s Fort Vancouver. Party guests include historically accurate characters at the Fort: a family from Scotland, a couple from Hawaii, and a Naval Lieutenant from England. Dr. John McLoughlin arrives, bringing a stranger into their midst- a fur trapper from the village whose tales capture the imagination of young Cecilia Douglas and inspire her outlandish dream . . . Beavers stealing a top hat, a mystical woman conjuring an abalone moon, three shipwrecked castaways scrambling to reach solid ground, a majestic salmon fighting a river’s current to swim upstream . . . each scene a fantasy inspired by history!
Columba Dance has been collaborating with historical experts, local tribes, and Fort Vancouver staff since 2019 to provide a whimsical, family-friendly story steeped in a complex history. This production features sets by renowned scenic artist Thyra Hartshorn and costumes by international designer Christine Darch.
Photo credit: Troy Wayrynen