It's as ubiquitous as eggnog, as unavoidable as mistletoe, and no Christmas would be complete without a performance of the classic Nutcracker ballet. This weekend is the time to take one in, with several offerings of the show throughout the North Bay.
The prize for the company that traveled the farthest to perform goes to the Moscow Ballet, made up of 40 world-class Russian artists. Tchaikovsky's score accompanies the knockout dancing and spectacular solo performances when the Moscow Ballet performs two shows, 3pm and 7pm, on Saturday, Dec. 20, at the Wells Fargo Center (50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa; $33 and up; 707.546.3600).
Another family-friendly tradition takes place at Analy High School, when the Sebastopol Ballet presents the Nutcracker with a cast of local dance students and guest performers. This audience favorite also includes Sugar Plum parties for kids before each matinee performance, with a chance to meet the dancers in costume and enjoy some sweet treats. The shows happen Friday–Sunday, Dec. 9–21, at Analy High (6950 Analy Ave., Sebastopol; times vary; $12–$22; 800.838.3006).
In the Napa Valley, another local troupe puts its own magical slant on the beloved show when the Napa Regional Dance Company performs the Nutcracker three times over two days, with live music by the Symphony Orchestra of Northern California for the evening show. The performances commence on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 20–21, at the Lincoln Theater (100 California Drive, Yountville; $25–$35; 707.226.8742).—Charlie Swanson