The last of the Nutcrackers including one that goes Afro-Bop in Costa Mesa, contemporary dance occupies a historic downtown theater, LA-based dance invades the Music Center, more SoCal dance this week and a peek at next week.

Live This Week

Not a Nutcracker

Out of the gate, LA’s newest ballet company, Hollywood Ballet, aims to show it has both classical and contemporary chops.  Its full-length Nutcracker in early December marked an auspicious arrival on the local dance scene. The company follows up with a program of contemporary ballets with live music from the company’s Dream Orchestra led by Daniel Suk. Co-artistic directors Petra Conti and Eris Nezha bring experience as principal dancers with Italy’s La Scala Ballet, Boston Ballet, and most recently Los Angeles Ballet where HB principal Tigran Sargsyan also was a principal.  The trio has danced full-length classics and contemporary works from Balanchine to Aszure Barton and Christopher Wheeldon. This program features choreography by Jennifer Deckert, Tigran Sargsyan, and André Megerdichian, who also directs. The Orpheum Theatre, 842 S. Broadway, downtown; Thurs., Dec. 28, 7:30 pm, $47-$105. Hollywood Ballet.

Hollywood Ballet principal dancers Petra Conti and Tigran Sarksyan. Photo by Reed Hutchinson

Hollywood Ballet principal dancers Petra Conti and Tigran Sarksyan. Photo by Reed Hutchinson

Local dance goes mainstage

This annual free holiday celebration brings dance, music and choral groups from all over LA County. The announced dance performances for this year’s L.A. County Holiday Celebration include Técnica Arte y Folklore (Mexican folklórico), Hiza Yoo Korean Dance Institute (South Korean dance), M Dance Collective (Chinese calligraphy-inspired dance), Reverb Tap Company (jazz tap), Blue13 Dance Company TAIKOPROJECT (Indian influenced contemporary dance and Japanese drumming), Técnica Arte y Folklore (Mexican folklórico),and XoroTroptzi (Bulgarian folk dance ensemble). Full listing of performers, and information on the livestream and local PBS rebroadcasts at the website. Music Center Dorothy Chandler Pavilion 135 N. Grand Ave Sun., Dec. 24, 3 – 6 pm, free. Music Center.

Reverb Tap - Photo by Timothy Norris

Reverb Tap – Photo by Timothy Norris

Team for the season

Southern California’s Mexican heritage and traditions are celebrated in the popular holiday event Nochebuena. Once again, Ballet Folklórico de Los Ángeles teams with Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuéllar for seasonal dance, song and mariachi music. Chapman University, Musco Center for the Arts, 415 N. Glassell, Orange; Thurs., Dec. 21, 7:30 pm, $25-$78. Musco Center.

Nochebuena En Casa -Ballet Folklórico de Los Ángeles - Photo by Luis Luque, courtesy of The Soraya

Nochebuena En Casa -Ballet Folklórico de Los Ángeles – Photo by Luis Luque, courtesy of The Soraya

Channeling stardom

Moving from Dancing With the Stars to the concert stage, Derek Hough arrives with his tour, Symphony of Dance. YouTube Theater, 1011 Stadium Dr., Inglewood; Fri., Dec. 29, 7 pm, $20-$149.

Derek Hough. Photo courtesy of the artist

Derek Hough. Photo courtesy of the artist

Santa’s acrobats

The folks who brought us Vampire Circus return with another holiday-themed tale, again with acrobats, clowns, and other cirque performers, and this time with the bearded fellow himself in Santa’s Circus. The family-friendly show includes a chance for kids to give Mrs. Claus a letter to be hand-delivered to Santa. The Montalbán Theatre, 1615 Vine St., Hollywood; Thurs., Dec. 21, 7 pm, Fri., 22, 2 & 5 pm, Sat., Dec. 23, 2, 5 & 8 pm, $39-$119. FeverUP.

Santa’s Circus. Photo courtesy of the artists

Santa’s Circus. Photo courtesy of the artists

Notable “Nuts”
(the last week of this year’s crop)

Set in 1912 LA, the Los Angeles Ballet’s Nutcracker  has drawn praise and happy audiences since its debut in 2006. For its final week of performances, LAB moves to Hollywood with a live orchestra, continuing to bring professional ballet to audiences throughout SoCal. Info and tickets at Los Angeles Ballet., Hollywood & Highland, 6801 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Thurs. Dec. 21, 7:30 pm, Fri.-Sat, Dec. 22-23, 2 & 7:30 pm, Sun., Dec. 24 & Tues., Dec. 26, 2 pm $45-$138. The Nutcracker.

Los Angeles Ballet. Photo by Reed Hutchinson

Los Angeles Ballet. Photo by Reed Hutchinson

For 40 years, artistic director David Wilcox’ version for his Long Beach Ballet has delighted audiences with sets from Disney scenic designers and an array of special effects including performers who fly and perform magic. A live orchestra backs professional guest dancers who fill the leads joined by students from the affiliated ballet school. Terrace Theatre, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach; Sat., Dec. 23, 2 & 7:30 pm, Fri. Dec. 22, 7:30 pm, $35-$125. Long Beach Nutcracker.

Moving to the last of its three venues, Inland Pacific Ballet covers the Inland Empire with the chance to view the Nutcracker. IPB’s professional dancers are joined by students mostly from IPB’s respected ballet academy. Guest artists include Mira Nadon and Peter Walker from New York City Ballet in Claremont while Oakland Ballet’s Lawrence Chen and Jazmine Quizada guest in Riverside. Fox Performing Arts Center, 3801 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside; Fri., Dec. 22, 7:30 pm, Sat., Dec. 23, 2 & 7:30 pm. $48-$152.

Inland Pacific Ballet. Photo by E.Y. Yanagi.

Inland Pacific Ballet. Photo by E.Y. Yanagi.

Offering an abbreviated Nutcracker SuiteAmerican Contemporary Ballet‘s one hour, immersive experience with live music is set inside a snow globe. ACB Studios, Two California Plaza, 350 S. Grand Ave., Suite 2850, downtown; Thurs.-Fri., Dec. 21-22, 8 pm, Sat., Dec. 23, 2 & 5 pm, Sun., Dec. 24, 1 pm,$70-$140.

Duke Ellington made Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker swing. Joe McCarthy and his New York Afro Bop Alliance Big Band take the familiar suite from ballet to Afro Bop with help from choreographer Maria Torres and her Maria Torres Dance Theatre Company. Dancers for this Pan American Nutcracker Suite are Shani Talmor, Natalia Nieves, Brayan Llamoza, and Adriel Flete. The theater is configured with the audience seated at tables evoking a nightclub. Samueli Theater, Segerstrom  Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa; Wed.-Fri., Dec. 22, 8 pm, $89-$99. SCFTA.

Details on other Nutcracker ballets this week at

A Peek at Next Week
(12-29 to 01-04 2024!!)

Salute to Vienna at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa, Sat., Dec. 30, 3 pm, $49-$129.

Oshogatsu (Japanese New Year’s Celebration) – Weller Court and Japanese Village Plaza, Little Tokyo; Mon., Jan. 1, 11 am – 4 pm, free. Details and schedule at

Stephanie “The Princess of Salsa” Stevenson – Gloria Molina Grand Park’s NYELA at Grand Park,200 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Sun., Dec. 31, 8 pm, free.

Featured photo TAIKOPROJECT. Photo courtesy of the artists

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