The season brings plentiful takes on the famous ballet with the familiar Tchaikovsky score, and some nice alternatives, too.

Joy! A Holiday Show with Circus, Dance and Live Music: The show created by Tandy Beal features Cirque du Soleil soloists Jeff Raz and Diane Wasnak, contortionists, balancing feats and a cappella group SoVoSó. 2 and 7 p.m. Nov. 24-25, 2 p.m. Nov. 26 at Civic Auditorium, 307 Church St., Santa Cruz; 7 p.m. Dec. 1, 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 2, 2 p.m. Dec. 3 at Hammer Theatre Center, 101 Paseo De San Antonio, San Jose, $10-$45.

Pacific Ballet Academy: Under the direction of Marion and Rima Chaeff, PBA dancers perform the school’s 27th annual “Nutcracker, with new, one-hour shows for little ones at noon and 2 p.m. Nov. 24. Full-length performances at 6 p.m. Nov. 24, 1 and 6 p.m. Nov. 25, 12:30 and 4 p.m. Nov. 26, $15-$30. Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View,

The Velveteen Rabbit: For the 31st year, ODC/Dance presents its adaptation of the children’s book. A milk-and-cookies party, which requires a separate $15 ticket, follows the Nov. 26 show. Nov. 25-Dec. 10, $15-$75. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater, 700 Howard St., S.F., (415) 978-2787,

Peninsula Youth Ballet: Ayako Takahashi directs the troupe in its 20th annual “Nutcracker.” Separate $10 tickets may be purchased for post-performance tea parties. 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 2, 2 p.m. Dec. 3, $15-$45. San Mateo Performing Arts Center, 600 N. Delaware St., San Mateo,

Ballet Joyeux: The Walnut Creek-based troupe of youth performers presents “Once Upon a Christmas,” a holiday ballet with Santa, his elves and the toys in his workshop. 11 and 7 p.m. Dec. 1, 2 and 7 p.m. Dec.2, $30. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek,

Ballet America Nutcracker: The full-length production for families features dozens of local dancers twirling alongside professionals. 7 p.m. Dec. 1, 1 and 4 p.m. Dec. 2. $24-$49. Fox Theatre, 2215 Broadway, Redwood City,

Western Ballet: The Mountain View-based school’s “Nutcracker” is a tradition for families. 7 p.m. Dec. 1, 1 and 7 p.m. Dec. 2, 1 p.m. Dec. 3, $28-$33. Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View,

San Francisco Youth Ballet: Dancers from the youth troupe are joined by dancers across the state in the group’s 17th annual full-length “Nutcracker.” 1 and 5 p.m. Dec. 2-3. $24-$26. Mercy High School, 3250 19th Ave., S.F.,

Presidio Dance Theater: “Sherene Melania’s Beyond the Land of Sweets” includes “Nutcracker” excerpts and dances celebrating winter traditions from across cultures. 3 p.m. Dec. 3, $40-$100. Herbst Theatre,401 Van Ness Ave., S.F.,

Dancers Repertory Theatre: “’Twas the Night Before Christmas,” featuring more 80 dancers ages 5-16, is based on the poem by Clement C. Moore. 1 and 4 p.m. Dec. 3 and Dec. 10, 3 p.m. Dec. 9, $22. Woodside Performing Arts Center, 199 Churchill Ave., Woodside,

Smuin: The 2017 edition of “The Christmas Ballet” includes new choreography from Smuin choreographer-in-residence Amy Seiwert and dancers Erica Felsch and Rex Wheeler. Dec. 6-10, $25-$89. Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View; also Dec. 14-24 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 700 Howard St., S.F.,

City Ballet School: The “Nutcracker” production features students performing choreography by Galina Alexandrova, a former dancer with the Bolshoi Ballet. 1 and 6 p.m. Dec. 9, 1 p.m. Dec. 10, $40. Palace of Fine Arts, 3301 Lyon St., S.F.,
Dance-Along Nutcracker: This year, the festive participatory event has the theme “Nutcrackers of the Caribbean.” 3 and 7 p.m. Dec. 9, 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Dec. 10, $18-$30. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission St., S.F.,

Mark Foehringer’s Nutcracker Sweets: The colorful family-oriented 50-minute rendition of the seasonal ballet has a contemporary twist and live chamber music accompaniment. 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Dec. 9-10 and Dec. 22-23; 11 a.m., 1 and 4 p.m. Dec. 16-17, $20-$42.50. Cowell Theater, Fort Mason, Marina Boulevard and Buchanan Street, S.F.,

San Francisco Ballet: For more than 70 years, The City’s premier ballet company has staged its lavish production, the longest-running “Nutcracker” in America. Dec. 13-30, $25-$498. War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Ave., S.F.,

The Hard Nut: After a five-year absence, Mark Morris Dance Group returns to the East Bay for its popular homage and campy reinterpretation of “Nutcracker,” with Tchaikovsky’s original score. 8 p.m. Dec 15 and Dec. 22, 2 and 8 p.m. Dec. 16 and Dec. 23, 3 p.m. Dec. 17 and Dec. 26, $40-$135. Zellerbach Hall, Bancroft Way near Dana Street, UC Berkeley campus,

The San José Nutcracker: New Ballet School stages the classical holiday ballet unique to San Jose, presented in partnership with History San Jose. 7 p.m. Dec. 15 and Dec. 22, 2 p.m. Dec. 16-17 and Dec. 23-24, $20-$91. Hammer Theatre Center, 101 Paseo de San Antonio, San Jose,

Hip Hop Nutcracker: Peninsula Ballet Theatre stages the new twist on the old classic. 7 p.m. Dec. 15, 6 p.m. Dec. 17, $35 and up. Fox Theatre, 2215 Broadway, Redwood City,

Bayer Ballet Academy: “The Snow Queen” is an original youth ballet production based on a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen. 7 p.m. Dec. 15, 2 p.m. Dec. 16, $38-$53. Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View,

Marin Dance Theatre: The school stages “Sophie and the Enchanted Toyshop,” a full-length children’s ballet with more than 100 dancers, including guest professionals, and a separately ticketed 3 p.m. “Teddy Bear” tea. 1 and 5 p.m. Dec. 16, $32-$40. Veterans Memorial, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael,

Peninsula Ballet Theatre: The troupe performs its 50th “Nutcracker” using Carlos Carvajal’s well-loved choreography. 1 and 4 p.m. Dec. 16, 2:30 p.m. Dec. 17, $35-$60. Fox Theatre, 2215 Broadway, Redwood City,

Oakland Ballet Company: The troupe presents artistic director Graham Lustig’s popular interpretation of “Nutcracker,” with music by the Oakland Symphony. 1 and 5 p.m. Dec. 23, 1 p.m. Dec. 24, $20-$92. Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway, Oakland,

Moscow Ballet: The “Great Russian Nutcracker” is on its 25th anniversary tour. 3 and 7 p.m. Dec. 17 at Flint Center, 21250 Stevens Creek Blvd., Cupertino; 7 p.m. Dec. 18 at Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, 50 Mark West Springs, Santa Rosa); 7 p.m. Dec. 19 at Palace of Fine Arts, 3301 Lyon St.,St., S.F; $70-$90.

Dream of the Golden Phoenix: New Century Dance presents a new version of “Nutcracker in China” for the year of the Rooster in show fusing Chinese classical dance and ballet. 7:30 p.m., Dec. 23, $20-$30. Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View,

Leslie Katz

San Francisco Examiner’s arts and entertainment editor Leslie Katz has been assigning, editing and/or writing news stories about the Bay Area’s rich cultural scene since 1997. Reach her at (415) 359-2727 or

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