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American Contemporary Ballet
American Contemporary Ballet
Victor Demarchelier

Wherever You Go in SoCal, There's a Nutcracker for You

Those sounds you hear aren’t just the the stampede of Christmas shoppers or tummy rumblings from leftover turkey and trimmings — they are the thrum of oncoming hordes of Nutcracker princes, Sugar Plum fairies, waltzing flowers and dancing mice descending upon local stages from now until Christmas. While jaded critics may groan at the prospect of yet another production of The Nutcracker, balletomanes welcome the chance to compare various professional versions (this year including Los Angeles Ballet and American Ballet Theatre) and to survey local companies’ upcoming crop of preprofessionals or the charm of a ballet school’s budding dancers. With productions from Santa Clarita to San Pedro, Santa Barbara to San Diego, Huntington Beach to the Inland Empire, it’s possible to see The Nutcracker without leaving the neighborhood. Even folks who think they don’t like ballet find it hard not to be beguiled by the exquisite, familiar Tchaikovsky score and nostalgic Christmas celebration that is the setting for a magical journey.

The following roundup starts with some of the notable professional endeavors and then a regional sorting. Apologies for any omissions. Let us know and we’ll make sure next year’s roundup is even more extensive.

Professional productions:

Set in 1912, the Los Angeles Ballet’s Nutcracker is an L.A. original, choreographed by company co-artistic directors Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary, with set design by L.A. artist Catherine Kanner. Now in its 13th season, L.A.’s own professional classical ballet company continues to demonstrate how well it understands this city. This year the company adds performances in Cerritos to its home theaters in Glendale, Westwood, Redondo Beach and Hollywood with a live orchestra, bringing ballet to the audience rather than expecting folks to overcome hours of gridlocked traffic. The superb company dancers have proven themselves a home team to root for. Info and tickets at LosAngelesBallet.org or (310) 998-7772. Dolby Theatre, Hollywood & Highland, 6801 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Sat., Dec. 8, noon & 5 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 9, noon; $46-$124. Also at Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Redondo Beach; Sat., Dec. 15, 1 & 5 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 16, 1 p.m.; $36-$104. Also at UCLA Royce Hall, Westwood.; Fri.-Sat., Dec. 22-23, 1 & 5 p.m.; Mon., Dec. 24, 11 a.m. & 3 p.m.; $36-$104.

Celebrated Russian choreographer Alexei Ratmansky’s interpretation of the classic for American Ballet Theatre brings ABT’s splendid dancers to SoCal. The announced casting includes many of ABT’s top stars, including local alum Misty Copeland (current casting for leads at scfta.org.). Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa; Wed.-Fri., Dec. 14 & 19-21, 7 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 15 & 22, 2 & 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec 16 & 23, 12:30 & 5:30 p.m.; $49-$269. (714) 556-2787, scfta.org.

Fans of Debbie Allen have a chance to see her perform in Hot Chocolate Nutcracker, her version of the holiday classic. Carlos Imperato, Tisha Campbell-Martin, Tichina Arnold, Kristopher Nobles, Mathew Johnson and DADA also star, backed by dancers from the Debbie Allen Dance Academy. Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd, Redondo Beach; Thu.-Fri., Dec. 6-7, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 8, 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 9, 2 p.m.; $60-$110. HotChocolateNutcracker.com.

Choreographer Laurence Blake and artistic director Victoria Koenig created Inland Pacific Ballet’s version of The Nutcracker, which has become a local tradition. IPB’s professional dancers are joined by students from IPB’s respected ballet academy. Two Friday performances on Dec. 14 and 21 are devoted to IPB’s popular Nutty Nutcracker. Fox Performing Arts Center, 3801 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside; Fri., Dec. 14, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 15, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 16, 2 p.m. Also at Bridges Auditorium, 450 N. College Way, Claremont; Fri., Dec. 21, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 22, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 23, 2 p.m.; $23-$62, discounts for seniors & children 12 & under. (951) 779-9800, IPBallet.org.

Inland Pacific Ballet
Inland Pacific Ballet
Courtesy Inland Pacific Ballet

For two decades, Moscow Ballet has brought its touring version, Great Russian Nutcracker, to approximately 50 cities during November and December. This Russian company stops off at four SoCal venues. The cast of 40 includes international ballet competition winners. The Wiltern, 3790 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles; Fri., Dec. 14, 7 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 15, 1 p.m.; $43-$123.50. Also at the Soraya, Cal State University Northridge, 18111 Nordhoff, Northridge; Wed., Dec. 19, 7 p.m.; $30-$250. thesoraya.org. Also at McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; Mon., Dec. 17, 7 p.m. (no seats available at press time); mccallumtheatre.com. Also at Jacobs Music Center, Copley Symphony Hall, 750 B St., San Diego; Thu., Dec. 20, 3 & 7 p.m.; $28-$89. nutcracker.com/buy-tickets.

Long Beach Ballet
Long Beach Ballet
Katie Ging

Over the years, artistic director David Wilcox’s version of The Nutcracker for Long Beach Ballet has acquired an array of special effects from three Disney designers, Flying by Foy, pyrotechnician John Bordeaux, magician Franz Harari and even a white Arabian horse. This year’s production includes a live orchestra and professional guest artists joined by students from the affiliated ballet school. A preshow luncheon with special photo ops and VIP seating is available for Sun. Dec. 17 (additional charge). Terrace Theatre, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach; Sat., Dec. 15 & 22, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 16 & 23, 2 p.m.; Fri. Dec. 21, 7:30 p.m.; $34-$115. (877) 852-3177, LongBeachNutcracker.com.

Last year, American Contemporary Ballet debuted a one-hour, immersive, three-dimensional experience, Nutcracker Suite. ACB returns with its compact version. ACB Studios, 700 S. Flower St., #3200, downtown; Sun., Dec. 9, 16 & 23, 2 & 5 p.m.; Fri., Dec. 7, 14 & 21, 8 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 8, 15, & 22, 2 & 5 p.m.; Thu., Dec., 20, 8 p.m.; Mon., Dec. 24, 1 p.m.; $50-$98. acbdances.com.

The professional dancers of State Street Ballet are joined by students from the affiliated ballet school in its Nutcracker choreographed by artistic director Rodney Gustafson. Granada Theater, 1214 State St., Santa Barbara; Sat., Dec. 16, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 17, 2 p.m.; $24-$104. (805) 899-2222, statestreetballet.com.

Los Angeles Ballet
Los Angeles Ballet
Reed Hutchinson

Here’s where to find The Nutcracker throughout Southern California:

Metro Los Angeles:

Los Angeles Ballet: Dolby Theatre, Hollywood & Highland, 6801 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Sat., Dec. 8, noon & 5 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 9, noon; $46-$124. Also at UCLA Royce Hall, Westwood.; Fri.-Sat., Dec. 22-23, 1 & 5 p.m.; Mon., Dec. 24, 11 & 3 p.m.; $36-$104. (310) 998-7782, LosAngelesBallet.org.

Moscow Ballet: The Wiltern, 3790 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles; Fri., Dec. 14, 7 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 15, 1 p.m.; $43-$123.50. nutcracker.com/buy-tickets.

American Contemporary Ballet: ACB Studios, 700 S. Flower St., 3200, downtown; Sun., Dec. 9, 16 & 23, 2 & 5 p.m.; Fri., Dec. 7, 14 & 21, 8 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 8, 15, & 22, 2 & 5 p.m.; Thu., Dec. 20, 8 p.m.; Mon., Dec. 24, 1 p.m.; $50-$98. acbdances.com.

One-time star of Russia’s Kirov (now Mariinsky) Ballet, Marat Daukayev choreographed, directs and stars as the mysterious Uncle Drosselmeyer with students from his admired Marat Daukayev Ballet Theatre and School. Luckman Fine Arts Complex, 5151 State University Drive, East L.A.; Sat., Dec. 8, 2 & 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 9, 11:30 a.m. & 4:30 p.m.; $42-$50. brownpapertickets.com/event/2419796.

Ballet Conservatory West: Smothers Theater, Pepperdine University, 24255 Pacific Coast Hwy., Malibu; Sat., Dec 8, 2 & 7 p.m.; $30-$50. pepperdinearts.ticketforce.com/eventperformances.asp?evt=227.

Los Angeles Ballet
Los Angeles Ballet
Reed Hutchinson

Pasadena/San Gabriel Valley:

Los Angeles Ballet: Alex Theater, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale; Sat., Dec. 1, 6 p.m., Sun., Dec. 2, 2 p.m., $36-$104. (310) 998-7782, LosAngelesBallet.org.

Company director Cynthia Young choreographed Pasadena Dance Theatre’s version of The Nutcracker for the students of her well-regarded ballet academy. The Dec. 16 and Dec. 17 shows offer refreshments and a chance to meet heroine Clara at a Nutcracker party before the performance (additional charge). San Gabriel Civic Auditorium, 320 Mission Drive, San Gabriel; Sat.-Sun., Dec. 15-16 & Fri.-Sat., Dec. 21-22, 2 p.m.; Sun., Dec., 23, 1 p.m.; $22-$68. PasadenaDance.org.

Los Angeles Youth Ballet hosts guest artists Ashley Murphy and Brooklyn Mack. Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale; Fri., Dec. 21, 7 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 22, 2 & 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 23, 2 p.m.; $25-$59. AlexTheatre.org.

Red Chair Children’s Production Company: Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale; Sat., Dec. 8, 2 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 9, 2 & 6 p.m.; $25-$45. (626) 683-3459. AlexTheatre.org.

South Bay & Long Beach:

Los Angeles Ballet: Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Redondo Beach; Sat., Dec. 15, 1 & 5 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 16, 1 p.m.; $36-$104. (310) 998-7782, LosAngelesBallet.org.

Debbie Allen’s Hot Chocolate Nutcracker: Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Redondo Beach; Thu.-Fri., Dec. 6-7, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 8, 1 & 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 9, 2 p.m.; $60-$110. HotChocolateNutcracker.com.

Long Beach Ballet: Terrace Theatre, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach; Sat., Dec. 15 & 22, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 16 & 23, 2 p.m.; Fri., Dec. 21, 7:30 p.m.; $34-$115. 877-852-3177, LongBeachNutcracker.com.

San Pedro City Ballet: The studio where American Ballet Theatre’s Misty Copeland trained showcases its current students. Warner Grand Theater, 478 W. Sixth St., San Pedro; Fri., Dec. 7, 7 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 8, 2 & 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 9, 2 p.m.; $29-$39, $19 seniors & children under 13. SanPedroCityBallet.org.

Long Beach Ballet
Long Beach Ballet
Katie Ging

South Bay Ballet: The respected ballet school brings its charming version to Marsee Auditorium. El Camino College Center for the Performing Arts, 16007 Crenshaw Blvd., Torrance; Sat. & Sun., Dec. 15 & 16, 2 p.m.; $34, $24 children under 13. (310) 329-5345, SouthBayBallet.org.

Metropolitan Ballet Company: James Armstrong Theatre, 3330 Civic Center Drive, Torrance; Sat., Dec. 22, 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 23, 2 p.m.; $20, $18 children. (652) 685-5403, dancewest.org.

Palos Verdes Ballet: Norris Theatre, 27570 Norris Center Drive, Rolling Hills Estates; Sat., Dec. 15, 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 16, 1 & 5 p.m.; $38, $28 age 10 & under. (310) 377-6663, app.arts-people.com/index.php?show=93516.

Pacific Dance Academy: Centinela Valley Center for the Arts, 14901 S. Inglewood Blvd., Lawndale; Fri., Dec. 7, 6 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 8, 2 & 6 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 9, 2 p.m.; $18-$23 in advance, $20-$25 at door. (818) 346-4447, PacificDanceCenter.com.

Southern California Dance Theater: Downey Civic Theater, 8435 Firestone Blvd.; Sat., Dec. 22, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 23, 2 p.m.; $28-$32. (562) 861-8211, DowneyTheatre.org.

San Fernando Valley:

Moscow Ballet: The Soraya, Cal State University Northridge, 18111 Nordhoff, Northridge; Wed., Dec. 19, 7 p.m.; $30-$250. thesoraya.org. nutcracker.com/buy-tickets.

California Dance Ensemble: Agoura Hills Performing Arts Education Center, 2855 W. Mulholland Hwy., Calabasas; Sat., Dec. 15, 2 & 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 16, 1 & 5:30 p.m.; $22-$32. (818) 889-8058, californiadanceensemble.org, PerformingArts.lvusd.org.

Santa Clarita Ballet: College of the Canyons, 26455 Rockwell Canyon Road, Santa Clarita; Sat., Dec. 15, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 16, 2 & 7 p.m.; $32-$38, $32 seniors & children 10 & under. (661) 251-6844, app.arts-people.com/index.php?show=93296.

Antelope Valley Ballet: Lancaster Performing Arts Center, 750 W. Lancaster Blvd., Lancaster; Sat., Dec. 8, 2 & 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 9, 2 p.m.; $30. (661) 723-5950, lpac.org/event.php?id=2017#shows.

American Ballet Theatre
American Ballet Theatre
Doug Gifford

Orange County:

American Ballet Theatre: Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa; Fri., Dec. 14, 7 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 15 & 22, 2 & 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 16 & 23, 12:30 & 5:30 p.m.; Wed.-Fri., Dec. 19-21, 7 p.m.; $49-$269. (714) 556-2787, scfta.org.

More than 100 students from Southland Ballet Academy perform in the training company Festival Ballet Theatre. Announced guest stars for this year’s Nutcracker include Teresa Reichlen (New York City Ballet) with Ulrik Birkkjaer (San Francisco Ballet) on Dec. 8-9; Vitor Luis (San Francisco Ballet) on Dec. 14, 15 & 16 with Maria Kochetkova (San Francisco Ballet); Beckanne Sisk with Chase O’Connell (Ballet West) on Dec. 21-22; and Sara Mearns with Jared Angle (New York City Ballet) on Dec. 23-24. Irvine Barclay Theater, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine; Sat., Dec. 8, 15 & 22, 2 & 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 9, 16 & 23, 1 & 6 p.m.; Fri., Dec. 21, 2 & 7 p.m.; Mon., Dec. 24, 11 a.m.; $45-$90. (949) 854-4646. theBarclay.org.

Maple Youth Ballet: Irvine Valley Performing Arts Center, 5500 Irvine Center Drive, Irvine; Fri., Dec. 14, 7 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., Dec. 15-16, 2 & 7 p.m.; $33, $28 children under 12 . mapleconservatory.com/performances-tickets/.

Anaheim Ballet: City National Grove, 2200 E. Katella Ave., Anaheim; Sun., Dec. 23, 12:30 p.m. & 5:30 p.m.; $25-$45. (714) 520-0904, AnaheimBallet.org, CityNationalGroveofAnaheim.com.

Sunrise Ballet: Servite Theater, 1952 La Palma Ave., Anaheim; Sat., Dec. 8, noon & 4 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 9, noon; $20. SunriseBallet.dance.

Ballet Repertory Theatre: Golden West College Mainstage Theater, 15751 Gotherd St., Huntington Beach; Sat., Dec. 8, 15 & 22, 2 & 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 9, 16 & 23, 1 & 5 p.m.; Fri., Dec. 14 & 21, 7 p.m.; Mon., Dec. 23, 1 p.m.; $20, $16 seniors & kids under 12. (714) 895-8150 x1, gwctheater.com.

Coast City Ballet: Huntington Beach Historic Theater, 1905 Main St., Huntington Beach; Fri., Dec. 21, 7 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 21, 2 p.m.; $22-$24, $21-$22 children & seniors. (714) 963-9771, coastcityballet.com.

Ballet Etudes: Huntington Beach Historic Theater, 1905 Main St., Huntington Beach; Sun., Dec. 9, 2 p.m., $25-$35. (714) 902-9423, tututix.com/client/balletetudes.

Laguna Ballet: McKinney Theatre, Saddleback College, 28000 Marguerite Parkway, Mission Viejo; Thu.-Fri., Dec. 13-14, 7 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 15, 2 & 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 16, 1 & 6 p.m.; $26, $24 students & seniors, $22 children 12 & under. (949) 582-4656, lagunadancetheatre.com/nutcracker.

Ventura/Santa Barbara Counties:

State Street Ballet: Granada Theater, 1214 State St., Santa Barbara; Sat., Dec. 16, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 17, 2 p.m.; $24-$104. (805) 899-2222, statestreetballet.com.

The students of Pacific Festival Ballet Company, the resident ballet company of the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, are joined by New York City Ballet principal dancers Tiler Peck and Gonzalo Garcia. Among the guest artists, look for the high-flying Kalinin Russian Dance Troupe. Civic Arts Plaza, Fred Kavli Theater, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks; Sat.-Sun., Dec. 15-16, 2 & 7 p.m.; $28-$44. pacfestballet.org. civicartsplaza.com.

Ventura County Ballet: Ventura College, 4700 Loma Vista, Ventura; Fri., Dec. 7, 7 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 8, 2 & 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 9, 2 p.m., $25-$40. venturacountyballet.com.

Moorpark Civic Ballet: Agoura Hills Performing Arts Education Center, 28545 W. Driver Ave., Agoura Hills; Sun., Dec. 23, 2 & 6:30 p.m.; $35-$40. MoorparkBallet.com, performingarts.lvusd.org/upcoming-events/.

Conejo Civic Ballet Company: Fred Kavli Theatre, Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks; Sun., Dec. 9, 2:30 p.m.; $20-$36. balletarts.org.

Santa Barbara Festival Ballet: Arlington Theater, 1317 State St., Santa Barbara; Sat., Dec. 8, 2:30 & 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 9, 2:30 p.m.; $25-$50. theArlingtonTheatre.com.

San Diego County:

Moscow Ballet: Jacobs Music Center, Copley Symphony Hall, 750 B St., San Diego; Thu., Dec. 20, 3 & 7 p.m., $28-$89. nutcracker.com/buy-tickets.

West Coast Ballet Theatre: California Center for the Arts, 340 N. Escondido Blvd., Escondido; Sat.-Sun., Dec. 22-23, 2 p.m.; $18.50-$42. (800) 988-4253, SanDiegoNutcracker.com.

City Ballet: Spreckels Theater, 121 Broadway, San Diego; Fri., Dec. 7, 14 & 21, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 8, 15, & 22, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 9, 16 & 23, 2 p.m.; $25-$89. (858) 272-8663, cityballet.org.

San Diego Ballet: Jacobs Music Center, Copley Symphony Hall, 750 B St., San Diego; Sat., Dec. 29, 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 30, 2 p.m.; $35-$100. (619) 294-7311, sandiegoballet.tix.com.

California Ballet: San Diego Civic Theatre, 1100 Third Ave., San Diego; Fri., Dec. 14 & 21, 7 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 15 & 22, 2 & 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 16 & 23, 1 p.m.; Wed.-Thu., Dec. 19-20, 7 p.m.; $21-$91. (858) 560-5676, sandiegotheatres.org/the-nutcracker.

Inland Pacific Ballet
Inland Pacific Ballet
Courtesy Inland Pacific Ballet

San Bernardino/Riverside Counties:

Inland Pacific Ballet: Lewis Family Playhouse, 12505 Cultural Center Drive, Rancho Cucamonga; Sat., Dec. 8, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 9, 2 p.m. Also at Fox Performing Arts Center, 3801 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside; Fri., Dec. 14, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 15, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 16, 2 p.m. Also at Bridges Auditorium, 450 N. College Way, Claremont; Fri., Dec. 21, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 22, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 23, 2 p.m.; $23-$62, discounts for seniors & children 12 & under. 951-779-9800, IPBallet.org.

Moscow Ballet: McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; Mon., Dec. 17, 7 p.m. (no tickets available at press time). mccallumtheatre.com.

Inland Empire Contemporary Ballet: Grand Terrace Performing Arts Theatre, 21810 Main St., Grand Terrace; Sun., Dec. 8, 2:30 p.m.; $15-$25. eventbrite.com/e/the-nutcracker-ballet-tickets-27644357016.

This article originally appeared in L.A. Dance Chronicle and is reprinted with permission.

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