Thanksgiving weekend isn’t just the official launch holiday shopping, it also marks the start of the Nutcracker ballet season. More than 100 Nutcracker productions, ranging from professional to training companies with guest artists to neighborhood dance studios, take the stage over the next five weeks. The first of the professional ballet companies is L.A.’s own Los Angeles Ballet, starting its annual tour of theaters throughout metro L.A., bringing its Nutcracker to the audience rather than expecting folks to overcome gridlocked holiday traffic. Opening in Cerritos, LAB travels to Glendale, then Westwood, then Hollywood, and closes the holiday season in Redondo Beach.
Set in Los Angeles circa 1912, with choreography by company co-directors Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary, this Nutcracker is an L.A. original that reflects this city’s diversity in superb dancers that have proven themselves a home team to root for. It’s notable that long before the recent move among ballet companies to rethink the dubious cultural references in the Chinese dance, the LAB version from the beginning presented that dance with two flirty European characters, Harlequin and Columbine.
Cerritos Performing Arts Center, 18000 Park Plaza Drive, Cerritos; Sat., Nov. 30, 5 p.m., Sun., Dec. 1, 1 p.m. $34-$109 (10 percent discount for children, students, seniors & military).
Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale; Sat., Dec. 7, 6 p.m., Sun., Dec. 8, 2 p.m., $34-$109 (10 percent discount for children, students, seniors & military).
UCLA Royce Hall, Westwood.; Fri., Dec. 13, 8 p.m., Sat.-Sun., Dec. 14-15, noon p.m. & 5 p.m., $34-$109 (10 percent discount for children, students, seniors & military).
Dolby Theatre, 6801 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Fri., Dec. 20, 8 p.m., Sat., Dec. 21, 5 p.m., Sun., Dec. 22, noon, Tue., Dec. 24, 3 p.m., $45-$131.
Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Redondo Beach; Sat., Dec. 28, noon & 5 p.m., Sun., Dec. 29, noon, $36-$104 (10 percent discount for children, students, seniors & military). 310-998-7782; losangelesballet.org.