This weeks list includes a couple Nutcrackers and some local choreographers.
5. The Nutcrackers are coming!
The most polished and professional of this season's productions, the Los Angeles Ballet Nutcracker, opens this weekend with performances throughout December and throughout metropolitan L.A. The sell-out success of last spring's Swan Lake at new venues in Northridge and Long Beach led those theaters to join the existing venues in West L.A., Glendale and Redondo Beach for a total of five LAB home theaters, an expansion that continues the commitment of LAB artistic directors Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary to bring great ballet to greater Los Angeles. Choreographed by Christensen and Neary, this full length Nutcracker is set in 1912 Los Angeles and was the calling card when LAB made its debut seven years ago. Over the intervening years, the production has been polished to a bright patina and the dancing talent deepened as LAB continues to prove itself to be the top-drawer professional resident ballet company which has eluded this city. In full disclosure, your scribe continues to volunteer to observe the ballet from a chimney onstage. The Nutcracker also opens LAB's 2012-2013 season, which includes a festival of choreography by George Balanchine next spring and early summer. Very appropriate, since it was the televised production of Balanchine's Nutcracker in the 1950s that introduced America to the ballet and elevated the Nutcracker into a seasonal must-see at the Alex Theater, 216 Brand Blvd., Glendale; Sat., Dec. 1, 7:30 p.m., Sun., Dec. 2, 2p.m. $21-$95. Also at Carpenter Performing Arts Center, 6200 Atherton St., Long Beach; Sat., Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m., Sun., Dec. 9, 2 p.m. Also at UCLA Royce Hall, Wstwd.; Sat.-Sun., Dec. 15-16, 1 p.m. & 5 p.m., $21-$95. Also at Valley Performing Arts Center, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge; Sat., Dec. 22, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 23, 2 p.m., $21-$95. Also at Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Redondo Beach; Sat., Dec. 29 1 p.m. & 5 p.m., Sun., Dec. 30, 2 p.m., $21-$95. (310) 998-7782 or www.losangelesballet.org.
4. Deadlines. Deadlines.
As a finale to World AIDS Day, UCLA student artists annually challenged themselves to create a new performance/art piece in 48 hours. The theme, as with World AIDS Day itself, is healthy sexuality, open communication and the importance of HIV-status awareness. At UCLA Glorya Kaufman Dance Theater, 120 Westwood Plaza, Wstwd.; Sat., Dec. 1, 6 p.m., $6. www.ticketmaster.com.
3. Support your local choreographers
Kevin Williamson, Nguyen Nguyen, Jeremy Hahn, Ian Isles and Alex Mathews are among L.A.'s most inventive and thoughtful choreographers. Presented by In/Ex Dance Project, this performance offers a sampling of their works in progress under the banner So You Think About Dance. At the Renaissance Arts Academy, 1800 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock; Sat., Dec. 1, 7:30 p.m., free.(323) 259-5700.
2. Whatever the question, the answer is chocolate
Fans of Debbie Allen have a chance to see her perform in her version of the holiday classic, called The Hot Chocolate Nutcracker. Carlos Imperato also stars, backed by dancers from the Debbie Allen Dance Academy. At UCLA Royce Hall, 340 Royce Drive, Westwood; Thurs., Dec. 6, 7 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 8, 1 & 7 p.m., $35-$75. (310) 825-4401 or www.ticketmaster.com.
1. Max 10 in Venice
Feisty, funky and uncurated, the Max 10 Performance Laboratory continues as a monthly showcase for dance and performance. Like a good laboratory, there's lots of experimentation and often surprisingly delightful results in these maximum ten minute offerings at the Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Ave., Venice; Mon., Dec. 3, 7:30 p.m. $10. (310) 306-1854, electriclodge.org.