When they launched Los Angeles Ballet five years ago, artistic directors Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary's audacious calling card was a brand-new, full-length production of The Nutcracker set in 1912 Los Angeles. Finally, the city had both its own Nutcracker ballet and its own professional ballet company. Over the intervening years, the production has been tweaked and the dancing talent deepened. With performances at three different home venues throughout December, LAB continues to “tour” metro L.A. to provide great ballet for greater L.A. (in full disclosure, this scribe keeps tab on the shows as Mother GInger from a well-situated chimney), but LAB certainly is not the only choice. Inland Pacific Ballet, Long Beach Ballet and State Street Ballet offer high-quality performances for the Inland Empire, Long Beach, Orange County and Santa Barbara, respectively, and City Ballet of L.A. puts a jazz spin on the holiday classic. Westside Ballet and Festival Ballet are training companies offering polished young dancers and notable guest stars. For the full listing of this season's performances of The Nutcracker , go to (web link here). Los Angeles Ballet at the Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale; Sat., Dec. 4, 7:30 p.m., Sun., Dec. 5, 2 p.m. Also at UCLA Royce Hall, 340 Royce Drive, Wstwd.; Sat.-Sun., Dec. 18-19, 1 & 5 p.m. Also at Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Redondo Beach; Fri., Dec. 24, 2 p.m., Sun., Dec. 26, 1 & 5 p.m.; $30-$95. (310) 998-7782, losangelesballet.org.–Ann Haskins

Sat., Dec. 4, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 5, 2 p.m., 2010

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