ODC/Dance presents its annual holiday production of “The Velveteen Rabbit.” (Courtesy Margo Moritz)

Holiday Dance 2019: Nuts about ‘Nutcracker’

The classic ballet, and fun alternatives, on stages across the bay

Professional and student productions of the ballet classic abound on Bay Area stages, but the season also offers varied alternative holiday dance shows.

Smuin dancers appear in “Christmas Tree Rock,” part of Smuin’s “The Christmas Ballet” touring the Bay Area through Dec. 29. (Courtesy Keith Sutter)

Smuin’s The Christmas Ballet: The 2019 edition includes new choreography by Smuin dancer Tessa Barbour, former dancer Rex Wheeler and ballet master Amy London. Nov. 29-Dec. 1, $25-$93. Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View; also Dec. 12-23 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 700 Howard St., S.F., smuinballet.org

The Velveteen Rabbit: For the 33rd year, ODC/Dance stages its adaptation of the classic children’s book by Margery Williams. Nov. 29-Dec. 8, $15-$100. Blue Shield Theater at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 700 Howard St., S.F., (415) 863-9834, odcdance.org/velveteenrabbit

Ballet America Nutcracker: The 90-minute production for families features dozens of local dancers twirling alongside professionals. 7 p.m. Dec. 6, 2 and 5 p.m. Dec. 8. $15-$50. Fox Theatre, 2215 Broadway, Redwood City, foxrwc.com

Sasha De Sola and Tiit Helimets of San Francisco Ballet join San José Dance Theatre’s “Nutcracker” cast on Dec. 6-8. (Courtesy photo)

San José Dance Theatre: Accompanied by the 52-piece Cambrian Symphony, the South Bay’s oldest “Nutcracker” features guest artists Sasha De Sola and Tiit Helimets of San Francisco Ballet on Dec. 6-8 and Claire Rathbun of Syracuse City Ballet and Jake Casey of Estonian Theatre Vanemuine Ballet on Dec. 13-15. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6 and Dec. 13, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7 and Dec. 14, 2 p.m. Dec. 8 and 15, $40-$95. Center for Performing Arts, 255 S. Almaden Blvd., San Jose, sjnutcracker.com

Western Ballet: The Mountain View-based school’s two-hour “Nutcracker” is a tradition for families. 7 p.m. Dec. 6, 1 and 7 p.m. Dec. 7, 1 p.m. Dec. 8, $28-$33. Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View, mvcpa.com

Ballet School Ballet Joyeux: The Walnut Creek-based troupe of youth performers presents the narrated “Once Upon a Christmas.” 11 and 7 p.m. Dec. 6; 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 7, $32. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek, lesherartscenter.org

City Ballet School: The “Nutcracker” production features students performing choreography by Galina Alexandrova, formerly of the Bolshoi Ballet. 1 and 7 p.m. Dec. 7, 1 p.m. Dec. 8, $55-$60. Palace of Fine Arts, 3601 Lyon St., S.F., cityboxoffice.com

Dance-Along Nutcracker: This year, the festive participatory event presented by the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band has the theme “Nutcrackers in Space.” 3 and 7 p.m. Dec. 7, 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Dec. 8, $22-$50. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission St., S.F., ybca.org

Peninsula Ballet Theatre’s Nutcracker Sweet: The 45-minute show “with the magic of the original” is geared toward ages 3 to 6. 11:30 a.m., 2:30 and 4:30 p.m. Dec 7 and Dec. 14; 12:30, 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. Dec. 8 and Dec. 15, $25-$35. Peninsula Ballet Theatre, 1880 South Grant St., San Mateo, peninsulaballet.org

Mark Foehringer’s family-friendly “Nutcracker Sweets returns to Fort Mason’s Cowell Theater. (Courtesy Matt Haber)

Mark Foehringer’s Nutcracker Sweets: In its 11th season, 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. 7-8; 11 a.m., 1 and 4 p.m. Dec. 14-15, Dec. 21-22. $20.50-$42.50. Cowell Theater, Fort Mason, Marina Boulevard and Buchanan Street, S.F., nutcrackersweets.org

San Francisco Youth Ballet: Dancers from the youth troupe are joined by guest dancers in the 19th annual full-length “Nutcracker.” 1 and 5 p.m. Dec. 7-8. $24-$26. Mercy High School, 3250 19th Ave., S.F., sanfranciscoyouthballet.org

Dancers Repertory Theatre: “’Twas the Night Before Christmas,” a dance-theater event with dozens of performers ages 5-16, is based on the poem by Clement C. Moore. 1 and 4 p.m. Dec. 8, 3 p.m. Dec. 14, 1 and 4 p.m. Dec. 15, $24. Woodside Performing Arts Center, 199 Churchill Ave., Woodside, twasthenight.org

Presidio Dance Theater: Sherene Melania’s “Beyond the Land of Sweets,” a “Nutcracker” spinoff, celebrates holiday traditions from across cultures. 3 p.m. Dec. 8, $40-$100. Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness Ave., S.F., cityboxoffice.com

San Francisco Ballet is celebrating the 75th anniversary of “Nutcracker.” (Courtesy Erik Tomasson)

San Francisco Ballet: Celebrating its 75th anniversary, The City’s premier ballet company’s extravagant, beloved production by artistic director Helgi Tomasson is billed as the longest-running “Nutcracker” in America. Dec. 11-29, $25-$325. War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Ave., S.F., sfballet.org

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. 14, 5 p.m. Dec. 15, $38-$53. Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View, mvcpa.com

Marin Ballet: With choreography by Julia Adam and some 150 local dancers, the full-length “Nutcracker” has a Victorian era setting; an optional $10 party follows the 1 p.m. show. 1 and 5 p.m., Dec. 14-15, $25-$45. Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium, 10 Ave of the Flags, San Rafael, tickets.marincenter.org

Peninsula Youth Ballet: The troupe presents its 25th annual “Nutcracker.” 2 and 6:30 p.m. Dec. 14, 3:30 p.m. Dec. 15, $25-$45, Spangenberg Theatre, 780 Arastradero Road, Palo Alto, pyb.org

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. 13 and Dec. 20, 2 p.m. Dec. 14-15 and Dec. 21-24, $22.50-$125. Hammer Theatre Center, 101 Paseo de San Antonio, San Jose, http://sanjosenutcracker.com/tickets

Moscow Ballet’s “Great Russian Nutcracker” comes to stages in San Jose and Santa Rosa. (Courtesy Moscow Ballet)

Moscow Ballet: “Great Russian Nutcracker” features world-class artists, “dazzling” costumes and sets and puppets. 4 and 8 p.m. Dec. 19-20 at California Theatre 345 S. First St., San Jose; 3 p.m. Dec. 23 at Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa; $29-$181. nutcracker.com

Hip Hop Nutcracker: Peninsula Ballet Theatre stages the new twist on the old classic choreographed by Alee Martinez and Isaac “Stuck” Sanders. 8 p.m. Dec. 20-21, Dec. 27-28. $35-$55. Fox Theatre, 2215 Broadway, Redwood City, peninsulaballet.org

Marin Dance Theatre: “Sophie and the Enchanted Toyshop,” a full-length children’s ballet with more than 100 dancers, includes guest professionals, and a separately $10 ticketed 3 p.m. “Teddy Bear” tea. 1 and 5:30 p.m. Dec. 21, $32-$40. Veterans Memorial, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael, tickets.marincenter.org

Oakland Ballet Company: The troupe presents artistic director Graham Lustig’s popular interpretation of “Nutcracker,” with music by the Oakland Symphony; separately $10 ticketed “Sweet Dreams” parties follow the 1 p.m. shows. 1 and 5 p.m. Dec. 21-22, $23.50-$102. Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway, Oakland, ticketmaster.com

Peninsula Ballet Theatre: The professional troupe presents Gregory Amato’s reimagined “Nutcracker,” which has a 21st century sensibility. 2 p.m. Dec. 21, 2:30 p.m. Dec. 22, 2 p.m. Dec. 27-28, $35-$60. Fox Theatre, 2215 Broadway, Redwood City, peninsulaballet.org


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Oakland Ballet’s popular “Nutcracker” by Graham Lustig comes to the Paramount Theatre. (Courtesy John Hefti)

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