Now in its third year, Los Angeles Ballet continues to blossom as the major league professional ballet company this city has lacked. While it’s wonderful that L.A. is a tour destination for major national and international ballet companies, just as with sports, there’s something special about having a premier home team to root for and to follow as young dynamic talent develop into world-class stars. (Full disclosure, that’s your scribe volunteering in the gingerbread chimney.) Appropriately, LAB’s production of The Nutcracker is set in 1912 Southern California, and respecting the uniquely horizontal nature of this metropolis, artistic directors Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary have established three home theaters rather than making audiences fight traffic to get downtown. LAB opened the season at Glendale’s Alex Theater last week, moves to UCLA’s Royce Hall this weekend and concludes next weekend at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center. What better way to beat the “Bah, humbug!” economic gloom than to gather friends and family to share in this balletic present to be opened early and enjoyed often. At UCLA Royce Hall, Wstwd.; Sat.-Sun., Dec. 20-21, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; $30-$95. (310) 998-7782. Also at Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach blvds.; Sat., Dec. 27, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 28, 2 p.m.; $30-$95. or (310) 998-7782.

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