This week's dance events also include a French choreographer's visit, street dance off the street, the first of the season's traditional versions of The Nutcracker and the last of Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty

5. Updated Urban Nut seeking volunteer

Hard to think of a better launch for the annual December onslaught of Nutcracker ballets than Urban Nut, a contemporary riff on the classic from artistic director Kate Hutter and her L.A. Contemporary Dance Company. At each performance, an audience member is chosen to participate as Clara or Clarence, who falls asleep at a performance of The Nutcracker, only to be drawn into a dream where the traditional story takes on modern-day elements, including a colorful cast of L.A. characters and an au courant soundtrack. (Only audience members who submit their name on arrival will be recruited, so the shy need not worry.) LACDC company members Melissa Schade, Kim Thompson, Paolo Alcedo, Kate Andrews, Marcelo De Sa Martins, Gakenia Muigai, Michael Crotty, Jodie Mashburn, Tess Hewlett, JM Rodriguez, Genevieve Carson, Christian Beasley and Hutter took on choreography assignments as well as dancing duties for this SoCal original. At the Brockus Project Space at The Brewery, 618B Moulton Ave., Los Angeles; Thurs.-Fri., Dec. 5-6, 8 p.m., Sat., Dec. 7, 8 p.m. & 10:30 p.m., Sun., Dec. 8, 7 p.m., $10.

4. A French master mixes dancers and D.J.s

Jérôme Bel, the dancer/choreographer, celebrated for employing nude dancers and disabled dancers, arrived with two shows that involve neither. Still, these performances demonstrate why this Paris-based choreographer draws international attention. After his solo showcase Cédric Andrieux last week, this weekend Bel offers The Show Must Go On, his 2001 work for 20 performers, 19 pop songs and one DJ. At UCLA, Freud Playhouse, 245 Charles E. Young Drive East, Wstwd.; Thurs.-Fri., Dec. 5-6, 8 p.m., $30-$35.310-825-2101.

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3. Let the season's Nutcrackers begin!

For three decades, beloved ballet teachers Rosemary Valaire and Yvonne Mounsey nurtured their training company Westside Ballet and its charming version of The Nutcracker. Their legacy continues, and this year the show has live music from Santa Monica College Symphony. An optional Yvonne Mounsey holiday tea will be held at 3 p.m., between shows, which at press time were close to sold out. At Broad Stage, Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica; 310-434-3200, 30-Dec. 1, 1 & 5 p.m., $35, tea $35, $25 children 12 & under,

2. Street dance onstage

In the last of three shows, the Underground moves street dance to the concert stage in Street Chronicles. The dancers share the stage with the spoken-word poetry collective Fiveology. Nate Holden Performing Arts Center, 4718 W. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles, Sat., Nov. 30, 8 p.m., $20, 323.964.9766.

See also: Our Latest Theater Reviews

Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty; Credit: Photo by Mikah Smillie

Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty; Credit: Photo by Mikah Smillie

1. Sleeping Beauty going Goth

In 1997, L.A. hosted the U.S. premiere of Matthew Bourne's breakthrough Swan Lake with male swans in feathered knickers and helped launch what became an international sensation. Since then Bourne's rebooting of ballet classics produced audacious and popular theatrical events — a Nutcracker set in an Oliver Twist orphanage and Cinderella cinematically moved to World War II London. Despite occasional mixed reviews about Bourne's choreographic skills, his talents producing enthralling, even visionary treatments of these familiar stories is unquestioned. The man is back with Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty. It also totes the subtitle “A Gothic Romance”, a strong clue that it's prime Bourne paying homage to the original classic ballet and particularly the luscious Tchaikovsky score while gender-bending the various good/bad fairies and injecting a nightclub populated with vampires for the traditional storybook characters when Aurora is awakened. Bourne always enjoys his bad boy characters, but he has not ignored Aurora, who first appears as a perky banraku puppet then later as a barefoot free-spirit (a stated reference to Isadora Duncan) before her sleep. At Music Center, Ahmanson Theatre, 135 N. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; Fri.-Sat., Nov. 29-30, 2 & 8 p.m.; $35-$120.

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