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What are the holidays without a little Nutcracker thrown in? This classic ballet is danced and performed throughout the Bay Area this month, from professional and heralded companies bringing their magic to the stage to the up-and-coming dance stars of tomorrow leaping into your hearts.
Here is a selection of top Nutcracker performances in the Bay Area this season:
Oakland Ballet Nutcracker — Oakland
The City of Oakland’s Ballet Company is joined by the Oakland Symphony and the Mt. Eden High School Women’s Choir for this version of the classic, choreographed by Graham Lustig.
Immediately following the matinee performances on December 17 and 18. Children of all ages are welcome! Meet the delightful characters from Graham Lustig’s Nutcracker and enjoy enticing refreshments straight from the Land of the Sweets. Bring your camera for pictures with the Sugarplum Fairy and her Nutcracker friends. (A separate ticket is required to attend the Nutcracker performance.) Showings Saturday, Dec. 17, at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 18, at 2 p.m. Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway, Oakland. 510-893-3132, www.oaklandballet.org
Berkeley Ballet Theatre’s Nutcracker — Oakland
This rendition is great for little ones, as young as three. Principal roles will be played by young BBT students, so it is fantastic for the audience members who want to be ballerinas to see young people doing great things. Dec. 16-18, Regents’ Theater, Holy Names University, 3500 Mountain Blvd., Oakland. 510-843-4687, www.berkeleyballet.org
“Impressions of the Nutcracker” — San Ramon
The San Ramon Valley Dance Academy brings the beloved holiday story the Nutcracker to life onstage, with stunning costumes, professional staging and talented dancers from the San Ramon Valley area. Audiences will follow Clara on her magical journey to the Land of the Sweets with her enchanted Nutcracker Prince. Each performance is followed by a visit from Santa Claus and a chance to meet the performers. Sat., Dec. 10, at 7:30 p.m., and Sun., Dec. 11, at 11 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. Dougherty Valley Performing Arts Center, 10550 Albion Rd., San Ramon. 925-978-ARTS or 925-837-4656, www.srvda.com
Dance-Along Nutcracker —San Francisco
Each year the SFLGFB selects a theme to blend with Tchaikovsky’s classic Nutcracker Suite. The result? A fun-filled musical production brimming with wit, artistry and ingenuity. For select songs, a large flashing “Dance-Along” sign signals the audience to tug on their tutus and pour onto the dance floor to pirouette beneath the spotlights with the cast. Sat., Dec. 10, at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., and Sun., Dec. 11, at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Check website for more information. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission St., San Francisco. 415-978-2787, www.sflgfb.townalive.com
San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker — San Francisco
This is the classic, real deal. Dress up and arrive an hour prior to curtain for photo ops with the cast.
Show from Dec. 10 to 29. Ages five and up. Please check the website for times and ticket prices. War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco. 415-865-2000, www.sfballet.org
Mark Foehringer’s “Nutcracker Sweets” — San Francisco
Nutcracker Sweets is a danced storytelling, developed in a special 50-minute version performed with live music, for children for all ages. Choreographer Mark Foehringer and the ensemble cast give a contemporary twist on the classic holiday ballet. The cast and crew will meet, greet and pose for pictures after the show, so bring a camera! Multiple shows Dec.10-20. Herbst Pavilion, 2 Marina Blvd., San Francisco. www.nutcrackersweets.org
Petaluma School of Ballet — Rohnert Park
In this production, the roles, from principal to corps de ballet, are given to all body types and sizes. Be sure to stop by the gift shop - it’s one of the better places to find a great souvenir.
Showing the weekend of Dec. 16-18. All ages. Everett B. Person Theater, Sonoma State University, 1801 E. Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park. 707-762-3972, www.petalumaschoolofballet.com
The San Jose Nutcracker — San Jose
The San Jose Nutcracker is a two-act classical ballet production suitable for the whole family. Children of all ages are welcome. The production will last about two hours and have one intermission. Multiple shows Dec.16-24. All ages. San Jose Repertory Theatre, 101 Paseo de San Antonio Walk, San Jose. www.sanjosenutcracker.com
My Very First Nutcracker — San Jose
My Very First Nutcracker is a special one-hour classical ballet presentation of The San Jose Nutcracker suitable for our youngest audiences, including children and toddlers of all ages. Three shows Dec.17-24 at 11 a.m. San Jose Repertory Theatre, 101 Paseo de San Antonio Walk, San Jose. www.sanjosenutcracker.com
Marin Ballet’s Nutcracker — San Rafael
This is a pretty epic performance, with 175 super-talented dancers shipped in from all over the state and country. There’s a special Candy Cane party after the 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday shows.
Dec. 10 and 11. Showtimes at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. All ages. Marin Veterans Memorial Auditorium, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. 415-453-6705, www.marinballet.org
Stapleton Ballet Nutcracker — San Rafael
The vibrant, lavish Stapleton Ballet Nutcracker provides a magical start to the holiday season! Now in its 28th year, this production features inspired dancing, beautifully crafted sets and exquisite costumes. Artistic Director Virginia Stapleton’s engaging production is designed to delight audiences young and old and features guest artists performing with over 250 dancers from the Stapleton School of Performing Arts. Complimentary meet and greet with costumed characters after 1 p.m. matinees. Dec. 3 and 4 at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Marin Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. www.stapletonschool.org