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Los Angeles Ballet: The Nutcracker

Justifiably big buzz is swirling around the debut of this new resident ballet company led by former Royal Danish Ballet artistic director Thordal Christensen and former New York City Ballet star Colleen Neary. The calling card: a brand-new production of The Nutcracker set in 1912 Southern California, boasting stellar guest stars from American Ballet Theater and New York City Ballet, a live orchestra, and sets from award-winning L.A. designer/illustrator Catherine Kanner. Responding to L.A.’s horizontal nature and increasingly clogged traffic arteries, The Nutcracker and the two spring performances in the inaugural season will commute among three home theaters in Beverly Hills, Redondo Beach and Glendale, saving audiences that harrowing drive downtown. In addition to introducing us to LAB’s international ensemble of polished, young, athletic dancers, The Nutcracker features top-notch guest artists, including ABT’s Paloma Herrera and Maria Ricetto as well as NYCB’s Maria Korowski (the model for Mattel’s Ballerina Barbie), Benjamin Millipied and Stephan Hanna. They even found a spot for a ubiquitous dance writer in the Mother Ginger chimney, giving your reporter a bird’s-eye view of what promises to be the major professional ballet company this city lacks. The excitement moves to Redondo Beach this weekend and then to Glendale’s Alex Theater. For local dance fans, this is an overdue present to be opened early and enjoyed often. Los Angeles Ballet at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Redondo Beach; Sat., Dec. 23, 2 & 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 24, 1 p.m.; $28-$95. Also at the Alex Theater, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale; Sat., Dec. 30, 2 & 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 31, 1 p.m.; $35-$95. (310) 998-7782 or www.losangelesballet.org.

—Ann Haskins


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