Ballet West received good tidings last year from New York Times dance critic Alastair Macaulay, who toured the country reviewing "Nutcrackers." BW's "Nutcracker," Macaulay wrote, "charmingly designed in 1962 by Ariel Ballif, is one of the best productions I've ever seen and, to date, the best discovery of my "Nutcracker" marathon."
That's old news to Utah families, of course, who have been shuttling young ones to rehearsals and performances for more than 50 years. "The Nutcracker" is the most venerable production in town this year's show features seven casts of rotating principals, soloists and demi-soloists but local dance studios offer their own holiday concerts and "Nutcrackers." Plus, there's new contemporary work on display at Ririe-Woodbury.
Dec. 1-3 • Children's Ballet Theatre and Wasatch Youth Ballet Company present "Molly Mouse's Sugar Plum Debut." Thursday-Saturday, 6 p.m; also 1 p.m. Dec. 3; at Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, 138 W. 300 South, Salt Lake City; $15, $12 children; and $5 toddlers 0-3, at 801-355-ARTS or arttix.org.
Dec. 1-3, 8-10 • Utah Ballet, a company of pre-professional dancers at the University of Utah, will perform work by faculty and choreographers Terry Davis and Eldon Johnson; (check kingsburyhall.org for show times) 5:30 and 7:30 p.m., with 2 p.m. matinees Dec. 3 and 10; $12 (with handling fee), $11 faculty/staff; free for U. students with ID.
Dec. 2-3 • Brigham Young University's International Folk Dance Ensemble perform "Christmas Around the World"; 7:30 p.m., with 2 p.m. matinee on Dec. 3.; Marriott Center, 1497 N. 450 East, Provo; $25, $15, $12; or $9 for BYU students, at byutickets.com.
Dec. 2-31 • Ballet West's "The Nutcracker", Capitol Theatre, 50 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City; (no shows Sunday and selected Mondays and Tuesdays) otherwise nightly at 7 p.m., with 2 p.m. matinees on Saturdays and Dec. 24 and 26 (check balletwest.org for additional matinees); $19-$75 (plus service fees); 801-355-ARTS; arttix.org. There will be Sugar Plum Parties, $5, for kids after matinees (except Dec. 24 and 31). "Nutty Nutcracker" performances Dec. 30 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 31 at 2 p.m. feature whimsical surprises tucked inside the traditional choreography.
Dec. 3 • Wasatch Dance Center's "The Nutcracker" performances featuring more than 200 dancers of all ages is a fundraiser for the Wasatch/Summit County Children's Justice Center; 1:30-5:30 p.m., Wasatch County High School, 64 E. 600 South, Heber City; $7, at the door, 435-657-2455 or http://www.wasatchdance.com/.
Dec. 8-10 • Ririe-Woodbury's performs "Prism," a showcase of artistic director Charlotte Boye-Christensen's choreography, including "But Seriously...," a revival of "Touching Fire," and excerpts from "West." 7:30 p.m. with a 2 p.m. Saturday matinee, at Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, 138 W. 300 South, Salt Lake City; $30, $15 students/seniors, at 801-355-ARTS or arttix.org.
Dec. 9-10 • Salt Lake Dance Center and Ballet Jeunesse present "The Night Before Christmas," 7 p.m., at Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, 138 W. 300 South, Salt Lake City; $10.50 (plus $2 service fees) at 355-2787 or arttix.org.
Dec. 10, 15-17, 19-20 • Utah Regional Ballet performs "The Nutcracker," 7:30 p.m., with 2 p.m. Saturday matinees; $16-$26, at Covey Center for the Arts, 425 W. Center St., Provo; 801-852-7007 or coveycenter.org.
Dec. 13-15, 7 p.m. • Ballet Centre Theatre presents a Christmas concert; 7 p.m., at 70 E. 4880 South, Murray; $7 at the door.
Dec. 19 • Park City Dance Academy's 9th annual production of "The Nutcracker"; 5 and 7 p.m., Eccles Performing Arts Center, 1750 Kearns Blvd., Park City; $15-$20; $10-$15 children; at 435-658-2345.
Compiled by Ellen Fagg Weist
Holiday arts preview
Put away that last piece of pumpkin pie: It's time to plan your holiday outings. Consider choral concerts and rock shows. Consider the seven rotating casts of "The Nutcracker." Think about symphonies and stage shows colorful enough for kids, classic holiday TV shows, and Hollywood's seasonal offerings. Consider Dickens' classic "Christmas Carol," and another round of Scrooge's bad dreams and holiday-themed regrets. To help you plan your December calendar, check out the links here for previews, features, photographs and ticket information, and TV and holiday movie outings. Read on!