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A Month of Nutcrackers

Christmas decorations have decked the stores since Halloween, but for dance fans, the holiday season can’t begin until the curtain goes up on the first performance of The Nutcracker. Locally, that honor goes to Yvonne Mounsey’s Westside Ballet, which this weekend offers the 33rd edition of its charming production of the holiday classic as a post-Thanksgiving alternative to shopping or football. Among the touring troupes, look for the Universal Ballet at the Shrine and the St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre in Costa Mesa. But the big buzz centers on the new Los Angeles Ballet, making its debut with a brand-new Nutcracker set in 1912 Southern California, boasting a live orchestra and performances at three separate venues. Led by former Royal Danish Ballet artistic director Thordal Christensen and former New York City Ballet star Colleen Neary, LAB promises to be the long-hoped-for major professional ballet company this city lacks. Ballet Pacifica also unveils a new production in Irvine while Burbank-based Media City Ballet is adding live music with its performances. Even with recorded music, Tchaikovsky’s sublime score — and the dancing it inspires — makes seeing The Nutcracker a seasonal must.

—Ann Haskins

This Week

Westside Ballet at Pepperdine University. See Dance listings, this page.

Universal Ballet at the Shrine Auditorium. See Dance listings, this page.

December

Los Angeles Ballet at the Wilshire Theater, 8440 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills; Sat., Dec. 2, 2 & 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 3, 1 & 5 p.m.; $20-$95. Also at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd.; Sat., Dec. 23, 2 & 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 24, 1 & 5 p.m.; $28-$95. Also at the Alex Theater, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Sat., Dec. 30, 2 & 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 31, 1 & 5 p.m.; $35-$95. (310) 998-7782 or www.losangelesballet.org.

Inland Pacific Ballet at Bridges Auditorium, 450 N. College Way, Claremont; Sat., Dec. 2, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 3, 10 & 17, 2 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 9 & 16, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; $18-$48. Also Nutty Nutcracker, Fri., Dec. 8 & 15, 8 p.m.; $20-$30. (909) 607-1139 or www.ipballet.org.

Festival Ballet Theater at Orange Coast College, Robert B. Moore Theater, 2701 Fairview, Costa Mesa; Sat., Dec. 9 & 16, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 10 & 17, 2 p.m.; $28; $25 seniors, students & children. (714) 962-5440 or www.festivalballet.org.

Southern California Dance Theater at Downey Theater, 8435 Firestone Blvd.; Fri., Dec. 8 & 15, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 9 & 16, 2:30 p.m.; $19.50-$25. (562) 496-1766.

Ballet Pacifica at Irvine Barclay Theater, 4242 Campus Dr.; Sat., Dec. 9, 7 p.m.; Sat. Dec. 16 & 23, 2 & 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 10 & 17, 2 & 7 p.m.; Tues., Dec. 12 & 19, 7 p.m.; Wed.-Fri., Dec. 13-15, 7 p.m.; Wed.-Fri., Dec. 20-22, 2 & 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 24, 11 a.m.; $23-$38. (949) 854-4646 or www.thebarclay.org.

Media City Ballet at the Alex Theater, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale; Fri., Dec. 8, 8 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., Dec. 9-10, 2 p.m.; $18-$40. (818) 243-2539 or www.alextheater.org.

San Pedro City Ballet at Warner Grand Theater, 478 W. Sixth St., San Pedro; Sat., Dec. 9, 8 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 10, 2 p.m.; $26; $15 seniors & children 12 & under. www.warnergrand.org.

Pasadena Dance Theater at San Gabriel Civic Auditorium, 320 S. Mission Dr.; Sat., Dec. 9 & 16, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 10 & 17, 2 p.m.; $28-$40; $22 seniors, $12 children under 13. (626) 308-2868 or www.­pasadenadance.org.

Metropolitan Ballet Company at Torrance Cultural Arts Center, James Armstrong Theater, 3330 Civic Center Dr.; Sat., Dec. 9, 2 & 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 10, 2 p.m.; $17; $12 children. (310) 781-7171.

St. Petersburg Ballet TheatRE at Orange County Performing Arts Center, 600 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa, Tues.-Sat., Dec. 12-16, 7:30 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., Dec. 16-17, 2 p.m.; $25-$85. (714) 556-2787 or www.ocpac.org.

State Street Ballet at Lobero Theater, 33 E. Canon Perdido St., Santa Barbara; Sat., Dec. 16, 8 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 17, 2 p.m.; $24-$125; $20-$38 seniors & students; $14 children 12 & under. (805) 963-0761 or www.loberotheatre.com.

Marat Daukayev Ballet Theater at Aratani Japan America Theater, 244 S. San Pedro St., dwntwn.; Sat., Dec. 16, 2 & 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 17, 2 p.m.; $25. (213) 680-3700 or www.maratdaukayev.com.

South Bay Ballet at El Camino Center for the Arts, Marsee Auditorium, 16007 Crenshaw Blvd., Torrance; Sat.,-Sun., Dec. 16-17, 2 p.m.; $26; $12 children under 12. (310) 329-5345 or www.centerforthearts.org.

Palos Verdes Ballet at the Norris Theater, 27570 Crossfield Dr., Rolling Hills; Fri., Dec. 15, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 16, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 17, 1 & 5 p.m.; $28; $16.50 children. (310) 544-0403 or www.palosverdesballet.org.

Santa Clarita Ballet at College of the Canyons Performing Arts Center, 26455 Rockwell Canyon Rd., Santa Clarita; Fri., Dec. 15, 8 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 16, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 17, 2 & 7 p.m.; $22-$28. (661) 251-6844.

Pacific Festival Ballet at Countrywide Performing Arts Center, Fred Kavli Theater, 2100 Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks; Sat., Dec. 16, 2 & 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 17, 2 & 6 p.m.; $24-$38. (818) 707-3267 or www.californiadancetheatre.com.

Long Beach Ballet at Terrace Theater, 300 Ocean Blvd., Long Beach; Fri., Dec. 22, 8 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 23, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 24, 1 p.m.; $20-$36. (562) 426-4622 or www.longbeachballet.com.

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