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Art&Seek Jr: ‘The Nutcracker’ Super-List

Art&Seek Jr. is one mom‘s quest to find activities to end the seemingly endless chorus of the “I’m Bored Blues” while having fun herself.  Impossible you say? Check back on Tuesdays for kid-friendly events that are fun for adults, too.

If Facebook has made me aware of anything, it’s the passion that can ignite between friends over certain hot button issues. I’ve learned that if you want to avoid the fire-storm of remarks that lead to cyber-screaming, name calling and “unfriending” it’s best not post anything involving these three topics: religion, politics or…when you plan to put up your Christmas tree. That’s right, Facebook has made me keenly cognizant of the battle between the “It’s-Only-November!-What-About-Thanksgiving?” camp, and the “Yay!-Halloween-Is-Over-Time-To-Break-Out-The-Mistletoe!” faction. The Novemberers will steadfastly refuse to hang even one piece of tinsel until the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers are gone and find the Mistletoers hugely annoying. Sadly, the Mistletoers don’t know how maddening they are because they’re too busy trolling Pinterest for ideas on how to make reindeer ornaments out of kitty litter, pretzels and corks from last night’s Chardonnay.

I had these two groups in mind when I picked this topic a few weeks ago. I knew the Mistletoers would positively burst into song when they spied a list of Nutcracker productions. But I mainly wanted to give you Novemberers out there a heads up. Yes, I know the yuletide season doesn’t officially start for you until December 1, but if you want to see snowflakes dance, and rodents duel you’re going to have put the principles aside and get those tickets now while the gettin’ is good. Some of the productions of the ballet start as soon as this weekend.

So, in the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday, here’s a cornucopia of upcoming Nutcracker productions in the North Texas area. They’re  listed in order by date so you won’t miss a single dancing snowflake.

1. Up first is Momentum Dance Company’s version of The Nutcracker at the Irving Art Center.   You can join Clara on her magic trip through the Land of Snow and into the Kingdom of the Sweets Nov. 29 through Dec 1. For an additional fee, your can treat the kids to a  Sugar Plum Fairy Tea after the last performance on Sunday. The tinies can meet the dancers and characters from the show and enjoy crafts designed just for them.

'The Nutcracker' is the perfect holiday event to enjoy with your kids. (Photo: Art Ballet Academy, Fort Worth)

‘The Nutcracker’ is the perfect holiday event to enjoy with your kids. (Photo: Art Ballet Academy, Fort Worth)

2. New York City Ballet principal dancers Tiler Peck and Tyler Angle will guest star in Chamberlain Performing Arts’ 2013 production of The Nutcracker at the Eisemann Center in Richardson. It also plays this weekend, Nov. 29-Dec. 1, so don’t wait on tickets.

3. LakeCities Ballet Theatre production of the classic holiday tale will also take stage Nov. 29-Dec. 1 at Marcus High School Auditorium in Flower Mound. The ballet is accompanied by live orchestral music from Lewisville Lake Symphony and choreographed by Kelly Kilburn Lannin, LBT Artistic Director. Ms Lannin was chosen by Theater Jones as their 2012 Nutty Award winner for best battle scene and best waltz.

4. Sure, it doesn’t technically qualify as a ballet, but Kathy Burks Theatre of Puppetry Arts puts on such an exceptional version of The Nutcracker you won’t care that the dancers are puppets. Not only is it magical and fun, it’s also a perfect introduction to the story for little theater goers who might not be ready for prime time. You can catch the show at Dallas Children’s Theater from Nov. 29 through Dec. 22.

5. If you’re wanting to be dazzled in a big way, you’ll want to check out Texas Ballet Theater’s production of Ben Stevenson’s The Nutcracker. From the big splashy sets to the glittery costumes, this production is elaborate and won’t disappoint. This ballet takes stage at the Winspear Opera House from Nov. 29 to Dec. 8. If you can’t make those dates, you can also see Texas Ballet Theater’s version of The Nutcracker in in Fort Worth later in the month. You can catch it in all of its opulence at Bass Hall from Dec. 13-27.

6. Dallas Ballet Center returns to the Granville Arts Center in Garland to perform their rendition of The Nutcracker. Dec. 6-8. The cast includes more than two hundred students from the Dallas Ballet Center, and guest artists, Sterling Hyltin, principal dancer with New York City Ballet and Jason Fowler, former soloist with New York City Ballet in the roles of the Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier. Word on the street is that this production sells out fast, so don’t wait to buy tickets.

Where else but 'The Nutcracker' can you see rodents with swords? (Photo: Momentum Dance Company, Irving

Where else but ‘The Nutcracker’ can you see rodents with swords? (Photo: Momentum Dance Company, Irving)

7. This year Tyler Junior College will mark its 25th anniversary of performing The Nutcracker. To help celebrate the milestone, the ballet will be accompanied by the East Texas Symphony Orchestra. Just an FYI to all you folks who live in the piney woods, this will be the only Nutcracker performance in East Texas to include a live orchestra accompaniment. The cast includes over 100 TJC and community performers and two principal dancers from the world-famous New York City Ballet, dancing the roles of the Sugar Plum and her Cavalier. You can see this extra special production Dec. 7 at the Cowen Performing Arts Center in Tyler.

8.  Dancers from Oklahoma, New York, Hungary and 30 communities in the north central region of Texas make up Denton’s Festival Ballet of North Texas. The company is celebrating its 26th year and their production of The Nutcracker has become a holiday tradition in Denton. You can catch Festival Ballet’s magical performance of The Nutcracker Dec. 14 & 15 at the Margo Jones Performance Hall at TWU in Denton.

9.  If you’re craving something a little less sweet and a little more off-beat, then you won’t want to miss Texas Ballet Theater’s The Nutty Nutcracker. The show blends hilarious pop culture references with the traditional Nutcracker to create a ballet that will have you laughing in the aisles. This version might be a bit racy for the tot-lettes, but the PG-13 crowd is sure to enjoy it. The Nutty Nutcracker is one night only–Dec. 20, at Fort Worth’s Bass Hall.

10.  The Tuzar Ballet takes the stage at the Eisemann Center in Richardson for their production of The Nutcracker. This is the company’s 29th year performing the holiday classic. There are three performances of lavish and spectacular ballet Dec. 21-22.

11.  With all of the gatherings, present buying and general holiday hoopla you might be finding your funds a bit low. Well, fear not, Art Ballet Academy’s production of The Nutcracker can take you to the magical land of the Sugarplum Fairy without straining your budget. At just $15 a ticket it’s one of the most affordable Nutcrackers around. You can see it at TCU’s Ed Landreth Auditorium Dec. 21 & 22.

12. The Milk Chocolate Nutcracker takes the best of Tchaikovsky’s classic and combines it with African Ballet, African drumming and West Coast swing. Presented by God’s Grace Family Church, this twist on a family favorite takes place Dec. 22 at the Irving Arts Center.

13.  Speaking of good values, Denison Dance Academy also presents a show with good ticket prices. Their Nutcracker Ballet has tickets as low as $5 for children and $15 for adults. It’s playing at the Kidd-Key Auditorium in Sherman on Dec. 23 for one performance only.

14. Collin County Ballet Theatre will presents its 12th production of The Nutcracker with the Plano Symphony Orchestra at the Eisemann Center on, Dec. 23 & Dec. 24. The performance will integrate more than 100 children and student dancers with professional dancers in leading roles. Also, it’s worth noting, that besides Texas Ballet Theatre’s production in Fort Worth, this is the only Nutcracker performance on Christmas Eve.

15. Finally, for those of you who crave more swing and less sugarplum in their holiday, Contemporary Ballet Dallas’ Boogie Woogie Christmas Carol is right down your alley. Dickens’ classic tale has been revamped to the present day and told through classic and current swing and jazz music, including that of The Brian Setzer Orchestra, Judith Owen, Harry Connick, Jr. Evanescence and Tommy Dorsey just to name a few. See it at SMU’s McFarlin Auditorium on Dec. 7.

Hope this list inspires you Novemberers out there to get crackin’, so to speak.

Therese Powell is an Art&Seek calendar coordinator and KERA-TV producer. She spends most of her free time seeking out adventures for her 8-year-old daughter, Rose.  Tell us about your quirky kid adventures by leaving a comment. Or e-mail Therese at tpowell@kera.org