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Mixed Nuts: A Nutcracker Cornucopia

That rumble isn’t just your post-Thanksgiving tummy, but the delightfully inexorable march of approaching sugarplum fairies, waltzing flowers and a parade of Nutcracker princes and adoring Claras lined up and ready to land like a stream of planes off LAX. Every Christmas season brings a generous number of Nutcracker performances, and this year is no exception. The Southland’s most polished and professional offering is Los Angeles Ballet’s Nutcracker, set in 1912 Southern California and offered at three venues. At the other end of the spectrum are abbreviated ballet studio versions geared for little ones not quite ready to sit through a full-length ballet. In between, excellent full-length productions include Media City Ballet, Festival Ballet, Pasadena Dance Theater, Inland Pacific Ballet and Westside Ballet, the last of which invariably has the season’s first production. With Tchaikovsky’s sublime score and the dancing it inspires, Nutcracker remains a seasonal must for rediscovering your inner ballerina or Baryshnikov. Here’s a chronological rundown.

—Ann Haskins

GO Westside Ballet: The Nutcracker Always the first production of the season, this training company led by Yvonne Mounsey consistently delivers a most marvelous Nutcracker with just the right balance of dancing and theatrical magic. PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY, SMOTHERS THEATRE, 24255 Pacific Coast Hwy., Malibu; Sat., Nov. 24, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 25, 1:30 & 5:30 p.m.; $25. (213) 365-3500.

GO Los Angeles Ballet: The Nutcracker Last year, L.A. acquired its own professional ballet company, a home team filled with young dynamic talent that arrived with a world-premiere production of The Nutcracker set in 1912 Southern California as an audacious calling card. Led by former Royal Danish Ballet artistic director Thordal Christensen and former New York City Ballet star Colleen Neary, the company will again tour L.A., offering performances of this dazzling Nutcracker at venues in Glendale, Redondo Beach and UCLA’s Royce Hall. No excuse to miss out on a balletic present to be opened early and enjoyed often. ALEX THEATRE, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale; Thurs.-Fri., Nov. 29-30, 7:30 p.m.; $30-$90. (310) 998-7782.

Ballet Petit at the Alex Theater, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale; Sat., Dec. 1, 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 2, 2:30 p.m.; $23-$29. (818) 243-2539 or www.alextheater.org.

Conejo Civic Ballet Company at the Fred Kavli Theatre, 2100 Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks; Sun., Dec. 2, 2:30 p.m.; $16-$29. (213) 365-3500 or www.­ticketmaster.com.

Red Chair Children’s Production Company at the Alex Theater, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale; Tues., Dec. 4, 7:30 p.m.; $12-$20. (818) 243-2539 or www.alextheater.org.

Media City Ballet at the Alex Theater, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale; Sat., Dec. 8, 2:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 9, 2 & 7 p.m.; $20-$45. (818) 243-2539 or www.alextheater.org.

Pasadena Dance Theater at San Gabriel Civic Auditorium, 320 S. Mission Dr., San Gabriel; Sat., Dec. 8 & 15, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 9 & 16, 2 p.m.; $30-$42, $22 seniors, $15 children under 13 years. (626) 308-2868 or www.­pasadenadance.org.

Inland Pacific Ballet at Bridges Auditorium, 450 N. College Way, Claremont; Sat., Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 9, 16 & 23, 2 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 15 & 22, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; $26-$48, $23-$48 seniors, $13-$18 children. (909) 607-1139 or www.ipballet.org.

Marat Daukayev Ballet Theater at Aratani Japan America Theater, 244 S. San Pedro St., dwntwn.; Sat., Dec. 8, 2 & 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 9, 2 & 4 p.m.; $25. (213) 680-3700 or www.maratdaukayev.com.

San Pedro City Ballet at Warner Grand Theater, 478 W. Sixth St., San Pedro; Sat., Dec. 8, 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 9, 2 p.m.; $25-$35, $15 seniors & children 12 & under. www.warnergrand.org.

Metropolitan Ballet Company at Torrance Cultural Arts Center, James Armstrong Theater, 3330 Civic Center Dr.; Sat., Dec. 8, 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 9, 2 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., Dec. 22-23, 2 p.m.; $17, $15 children. (310) 781-7171.

Southern California Dance Theater at Downey Civic Theater, 8435 Firestone Blvd.; Sat., Dec. 8 & 15, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 9 & 16, 2:30 p.m.; $21-$25. (562) 496-1766 or words2cr8@aol.com.

Nutty NutcrackerPerformed by the Inland Pacific Ballet at Bridges Auditorium, 450 N. College Way, Claremont; Fri., Dec. 14 & 21, 8 p.m.; $20-$30, $15-$30 children. (909) 607-1139 or www.ipballet.org.

Malibu Ballet at Pepperdine University, Smothers Theater, 24255 Pacific Coast Hwy., Malibu; Fri., Dec. 14, 8 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 15, 3 & 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 16, 2 & 6 p.m.; $30, $15 age 15 & younger. (310) 406-4522 or www.pepperdine.edu/arts.

Santa Clarita Ballet at College of the Canyons Performing Arts Center, 26455 Rockwell Canyon Rd., Santa Clarita; Fri., Dec. 14, 8 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 15, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 16, 2 & 7 p.m.; $22-$28. (661) 251-6844 or (661) 251-0366.

South Bay Ballet at El Camino Center for the Arts, Marsee Auditorium, 16007 Crenshaw Blvd., Torrance; Sat.-Sun., Dec. 15-16, 2 p.m.; $28, $18 children under 12 years. (310) 329-5345.

Coast City Ballet at Millikan High School Auditorium, 2800 Snowden, Long Beach; Sat., Dec. 15, 1:30 & 7:30 p.m.; $15, $12 children under 12 years. www.­coastcityballet.com.

Pacific Festival Ballet at Countrywide Performing Arts Center, Fred Kavli Theater, 2100 Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks; Sat., Dec. 15, 2 & 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 16, 2 & 6 p.m.; $24-$38. (213) 365-3500 or www.­ticketmaster.com.

Long Beach Ballet at Terrace Theater, 300 Ocean Blvd., Long Beach; Fri., Dec. 21, 8 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 22, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 23, 1 p.m.; $20-$40, $14-$36 children under 12 years. (562) 426-4622 or www.longbeachballet.com.

Palos Verdes Ballet at the Norris Theater, 27570 Crossfield Dr., Rolling Hills; Sat., Dec. 22, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 23, 1 & 5 p.m.; $28.50, $18.50 children. (310) 544-0403 or www.palosverdesballet.org.

For more Nutcracker listings, including Orange County performances, see the Dance Pick online at www.laweekly.com.