Nutcracker’ is a tough nut to crack

Illustration: Chris Morris

The Nutcracker is emblematic of the “magical” in a season ruled by consumerism and chaos. And for ballet companies the performance is paramount: It pays the bills for much of the season and builds audiences enchanted by tutus and sugar plum fairies. But what happens when, much like holiday shopping, the options get out of hand—not just one Nut, but two, three or four? For a while, Nevada Ballet Theatre’s performance (this year at Paris Las Vegas, December 17-26) was the only game in town. Then came a Russian touring group at the Henderson Pavilion, which siphoned off potential sales with outdoor performances in front of an audience warmed by heaters, blankets and hot chocolate. The Russians are skipping Vegas this year, but City Ballet of San Diego stopped by last weekend to present The Nutcracker at Planet Hollywood. The Anaheim Ballet arrives on the 16th with three days of shows at South Point. And Las Vegas Ballet presents Nutcracker Highlights at the Summerlin Library December 20-23. There have been no visible signs of turf wars or Mouse King-style battles spilling into the streets—yet. But when shopping for a performance this year, you might want to think locally.

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