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Ten festive dance performances bring on the holiday spirit

Five different Nutcrackers to choose from, plus a Dickens-inspired show and more

A 2018 dress rehearsal for Boston Ballet's "Nutcracker."Jim Davis

MIKKO NISSINEN’S THE NUTCRACKER While there are “Nutcracker” productions around every corner of New England this time of year, none can hold a candle to Boston Ballet’s version for sheer grandeur, reliably excellent dancing, and live music. The company’s telling of Clara’s fantastical journey sets the standard for breathtaking ballet magic. Nov. 29-Dec. 29, $37-$300. Citizens Bank Opera House. 617-695-6955, www.bostonballet.org

JOSÉ MATEO BALLET THEATRE’S THE NUTCRACKER This longstanding production offers magic in a slightly different way, its smaller scale and streamlined narrative giving the ballet an engaging intimacy. With accessible pricing and performances at two different locations, the production offers a sense of drama and immediacy that’s especially appealing for younger viewers. Nov. 30-Dec. 8, Cutler Majestic Theatre. Dec. 13-22, Strand Theatre, Dorchester. $25-$80. 617-354-7467, www.ballettheatre.org


NEWPORT NUTCRACKER AT ROSECLIFF For 18 years, Island Moving Company has left the stage behind to take its hugely popular production into Newport’s romantic Rosecliff mansion. Snowflakes and flowers cascade down the famous sweetheart staircase and into some of the mansion’s resplendent rooms and hallways, with audiences just feet away as they follow the action. Limited tickets sell out, so book early. Nov. 27-Dec. 6, $60-$195. Rosecliff, Newport, R.I. 401-847-4470, www.islandmovingco.org

MOSCOW BALLET’S GREAT RUSSIAN NUTCRACKER This touring production promises not just an impressive cast of Vaganova-trained dancers and more than 200 costumes, but spectacular staging and sets evoking Russia’s grand theatrical traditions, including 10-foot-tall puppets and soaring birds. Dec. 6, $44-$124. Boch Center Wang Theatre. 800-982-2787, www.bochcenter.org

STEALING CHRISTMAS BoSoma Youth Company takes audiences on a trip to the magical world of Whoville with its take on the Dr. Seuss classic about the dastardly Grinch who finally understands the true meaning of Christmas. This annual winter dance concert is suitable for all ages, with Grinch-inspired gifts on sale before the show and during intermission. Dec. 7-8, $15. Larcom Theatre, Beverly. 978-922-6313, www.thelarcom.org


AURORA BOREALIS: A FESTIVAL OF LIGHT AND DANCE In this 18th annual Boston University collaborative production, the magic of the season is evoked through the interplay of light and form. The nonsectarian celebration offers two different hourlong programs featuring dance and movement pieces (including aerial work) by faculty and students. Dec. 8-9, Free. Boston University Dance Theater. 617-353-1597, www.bu.edu/fitrec/dance/dance-theater/upcoming-events/

FUNNY UNCLE CABARET & NUT/CRACKED In this irreverent, entertaining evening’s first act, Peter DiMuro/Public Displays of Motion reflects seasonal drama by exploring the families we’re stuck with versus the community we choose. Then David Parker’s The Bang Group takes “The Nutcracker” in a completely different direction with a wickedly funny parody featuring a range of dance styles. Dec. 13-14, $10-$100. Dance Complex, Cambridge. 617-547-9363, www.dancecomplex.org

BANBOCHE 2019 In its seasonal celebration, Jean Appolon Expressions’ entire dance company immerses the audience in Haitian culture through a look back at the year. The evening features performance highlights from the year’s programs, as well as drinks and unique handcrafted goods. There’s a chance for the audience to cut loose, too, so bring your dancing shoes. Dec. 14, $25-$175 (free for kids under 10). Center for Arts at the Armory, Somerville. 617-718-2191, www.jeanappolonexpressions.org

WHAT THE DICKENS! With choreography ranging from ballet and tap to hip-hop and flamenco, Deborah Mason Dudley’s Cambridge Youth Dance Program presents a unique take on Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol.” Now in its 11th season, this original dance theater show features talented youth as well as seasoned professionals and has become a popular tradition for the entire family. Dec. 14-22, $25-$65. John Hancock Hall. 617-616-5124, www.cydp.org


THE HIP HOP NUTCRACKER Choreographed by Jennifer Weber, this touring production uses a mash-up of dance styles to transport E.T.A. Hoffmann’s familiar story to contemporary New York City. The show includes a dozen dancers, and the Tchaikovsky score is complemented by musical remixes featuring an onstage DJ and electric violinist. Rapper MC Kurtis Blow opens the show with a short set. Dec. 29, $42.50-$62.50. Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts, Worcester. 877-571-7469, www.thehanovertheatre.org

Karen Campbell can be reached at karencampbell4@rcn.com.