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Westside Ballet kicks off Nutcracker season.

With wildfire destruction added to a climate already rife with home foreclosures, job layoffs and stock-market meltdown, the usual “spend, baby, spend” holiday mentality seems woefully out of style, even in Tinseltown. Now is a propitious time to replace spending with saving — in particular, gathering memories to share with friends and family. And what fits the bill better than the magic of that holiday favorite, The Nutcracker? The Southland’s most polished and professional offerings are Los Angeles Ballet’s 1912 Southern California Nutcracker at three local venues; and Media City Ballet’s production, with a live orchestra and chorus. Santa Monica Contemporary Ballet and Earthwalk Dance Company join forces for a new electronic interpretation. The big import is Russia’s Kirov Ballet, although the Moscow Ballet is also in town. Anyone who thinks ballet is a dying art should take note of the multitude of young dancers in performances mounted by pre-professional training companies, like Westside Ballet, Pasadena Dance Theater and Festival Ballet, as well as local ballet academies across the region.

Westside Ballet Smothers Theater, Pepperdine University, 24255 Pacific Coast Hwy., Malibu; Sat., Nov. 29, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 30, 1:30 & 5:30 p.m.; $26. Also at Wadsworth Theater, W.L.A., Sat., Dec. 13, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 14, 1 & 5 p.m.; $26. And at Disney Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., dwntwn., Sat., Dec. 20, 2 p.m. & Sun., Dec. 21, 7 p.m., $42-$147. (310) 828-6211 or www.westsideballet.com.

Dance Peninsula Ballet Norris Theater, 27570 Crossfield Dr., Rolling Hills; Sat., Nov. 29 & Dec. 6, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 30, 1 & 5 p.m.; Fri., Dec. 5, 8 p.m.; $28, $18 children. (310) 544-0403.

Red Chair Children’s Production Company Alex Theater, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale; Thurs., Dec. 4, 7:30 p.m.; $14-$24. (818) 243-2539 or www.alextheater.org.

Inland Pacific Ballet Bridges Auditorium, 450 N. College Way, Claremont; Sat., Dec. 6, 13 & 21, 7 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., Dec. 7, 13-14, 20-21, 1 p.m. $26-$48, $23-$48 seniors, $13-$48 children 12 & under. Also Nutty Nutcracker, Sun., Dec. 14 & 21, 7 p.m.; $20-$30; $15-$30 children. (909) 607-1139.

Media City Ballet Alex Theater, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale; Sat.-Sun., Dec. 6-7, 2 & 7 p.m.; $20-$48. (818) 243-2539 or www.alextheater.org.

California Dance Academy Madrid Theater, 21622 Sherman Way, Canoga Park; Sat., Dec. 6 & 13, 2 & 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 7 & 14, 1 & 5 p.m.; $16-$22. (818) 347-9938.

Los Angeles Ballet Alex Theater, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale; Fri., Dec. 12, 7:30 p.m.; $30-$95. Also at UCLA Royce Hall, 340 Royce Dr., Wstwd.; Sat.-Sun., Dec. 20-21, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; $30-$95. And at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd.; Sat., Dec. 27, 2 & 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 28, 2 p.m.; $30-$95. (310) 998-7782.

Pasadena Dance Theater San Gabriel Civic Auditorium, 320 S. Mission Dr., San Gabriel; Sat., Dec. 13 & 20, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 14 & 21, 2 p.m.; $30-$42; $22 seniors, $15 children 12 & under. (626) 308-2868.

Marat Daukayev Ballet Theater Aratani Japan America Theater, 244 S. San Pedro St., dwntwn.; Sat., Dec. 13, 2 & 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 14, 1:30 & 3:30 p.m.; $30. (213) 680-3700 or www.maratdaukayev.com.

San Pedro City Ballet Warner Grand Theater, 478 W. Sixth St., San Pedro; Sat., Dec. 13, 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 14, 2 p.m.; $25-$35; $15 seniors & children 12 & under. www.warnergrand.org.

Kirov Ballet Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; Wed.-Sat., Dec. 17-20, 7:30, Thurs. & Sat., Dec. 18 & 20, 2 p.m.; $30-$120. (213) 365-3500.

Santa Monica Contemporary Ballet/Earthwalk Dance Company Highways Performance Space, 1651 18th St., Santa Monica; Thurs.-Sat., Dec. 18-20, 8 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 21, 2 p.m.; $25; $15 students & seniors. (310) 315-1459.

Long Beach Ballet Terrace Theater, 300 Ocean Blvd., Long Beach; Sat.-Sun., Dec. 20-21, 2 & 8 p.m.; $20-$42. (562) 426-4622 or www.longbeachballet.com.

Moscow Ballet La Mirada Theater, 14900 La Mirada Blvd., La Mirada; Mon., Dec. 22, 7:30 p.m.; $40-$65; 25 percent discount for children. (562) 944-9801.

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