A few years back, an astonishing photograph captured a Chinese version of Swan Lake with the Swan Queen balancing en pointe on the head of the prince. Turned out the performers were acrobats with ballet training, and someone had the bright idea to incorporate those acrobatic skills into classical ballet. The Dalian Acrobatic Troupe's Terracotta Nutcracker takes that fusion several steps further with help from American choreographer Dennis Nahat: The final pas de deux concludes with the Sugar Plum Fairy flipped onto the shoulders of her partner, where she balances en pointe. That impressive trick is preceded by snowflakes wearing in-line skates, an Arabian dance that involves balancing candelabras, ninjas instead of mice, oh, and some dancing. Southern California gets a look at the result at this ambitious blending of pyrotechnical acrobatics with classical ballet as Terracotta Nutcracker joins this season's lineup of traditional, or, in this case, highly untraditional, versions of The Nutcracker. Catch a video preview of this one at terracottanutcracker.com. Pasadena Civic Auditorium, 300 E. Green St., Pasadena; Fri., Dec. 13, 8 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 14, 2 & 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 15, 2 p.m., $30-$180. (626) 449-7360, ticketmaster.com.

Fri., Dec. 13, 8 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 14, 2 & 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 15, 2 p.m., 2013

LA Weekly