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Holiday Arts Preview

Let the Nutcrackers commence! Here are nine to choose from, plus a holiday-themed circus.

Drosselmeyer's doll comes to life in José Mateo Ballet Theater's "The Nutcracker."Gary Sloan

NEWPORT NUTCRACKER AT ROSECLIFF Newport Contemporary Ballet’s interactive “Nutcracker” brings distinctive grandeur. Performances walk guests through Newport’s famed Rosecliff mansion as the young protagonist celebrates the holidays with her family and battles the Mouse Queen (there’s a twist) before encountering a winter wonderland and the magical Land of the Sweets. This one often sells out, so plan ahead. Nov. 22-Dec. 1. $139-$229. Rosecliff Mansion, 548 Bellevue Ave., Newport, R.I. newportcontemporaryballet.org

MIKKO NISSINEN’S THE NUTCRACKER For dance enthusiasts of all ages, Boston Ballet’s opulent production of “The Nutcracker” kickstarts the holiday spirit. Featuring the company’s superb dancers and live music by the Boston Ballet Orchestra, the production is a New England tradition. Expect lavish costumes and larger-than-life set pieces — including a 42-foot Christmas tree — as well as a cast that includes a bevy of adorable children. Nov. 24-Dec. 31. $25 and up. Citizens Bank Opera House, 539 Washington St. bostonballet.org

"A Magical Cirque Christmas" comes to the Hanover Theatre in Worcester on Dec. 3Anthony Wooten

A MAGICAL CIRQUE CHRISTMAS This family-oriented circus variety show creates derring-do inside a holiday theme, with performances set to familiar music of the season. The physical virtuosity ranges from high-flying aerials to jaw-dropping balancing acts. Nov. 25. $38-$78. THE VETS, 1 Avenue of the Arts, Providence. www.thevetsri.com; also Dec. 3. $31.80-$95. Hanover Theatre, Worcester. thehanovertheatre.org

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DANCE PRISM’S THE NUTCRACKER Under the artistic direction of Mary Demaso, the company presents its 41st season of the holiday ballet with two performances a day in five different locations. The ballet follows Clara’s journey from a traditional 19th-century Christmas celebration to the kingdom of snow and the land of the Sugarplum Fairy. The icing on this production is an opportunity for young audience members to meet Clara, the Sugarplum Fairy, and the Nutcracker Prince in person following each performance. Nov. 26, Bristol Community College, Fall River; Dec. 3, Rogers Theater at Lincoln Sudbury Regional High School; Dec 9, Littleton Performing Arts Center; Dec. 10, Mechanics Hall, Worcester; Dec. 16-17, The Collins Center, Andover. $38-$45. www.danceprism.com

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DUKE ELLINGTON’S NUTCRACKER SUITE Under the direction of Professor Tia Fuller, Berklee College of Music’s “Diamond Cut” Big Band rings in the season with a one-night-only performance of Duke Ellington’s sophisticated jazz reimagining of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker Suite.” The music will be complemented by performances directed by Conservatory dancer/choreographer Professor Anthony Burrell featuring select students from the Conservatory Dance Division. Nov. 30. $6-$12. Berklee Performance Center. www.berklee.edu/BPC

NUTCRACKER! MAGICAL CHRISTMAS BALLET This lavish touring production lands in Boston for one night only. The 30-year-old ballet company comprises a professional cast of dancers from around the world, including principal artists from Ukraine. The show complements ballet with acrobatics, and features colorful sets, costumes, and giant puppets. Dec. 7. $34-$104. Boch Center Wang Theatre. www.bochcenter.org

JOSÉ MATEO BALLET THEATRE’S THE NUTCRACKER Known for its intimate charm and accessibility, Mateo’s original production of the popular classic spans 35 years as it brings its magic to 13 performances at the Strand. In addition to guest artists from companies around the world, more than 100 children, ranging in age from 6 to 18, will perform as Clara, mice, soldiers, party guests, polichinelles, cherubs, and angels. Dec. 9-24. $25-$90. The Strand Theatre, Dorchester. www.ballettheatre.org/tickets

BALLET RI’S THE NUTCRACKER Choreographed by former Boston Ballet principal dancer Yury Yanowsky, the company’s artistic curator and resident choreographer, this version of the story has an elegant, contemporary sheen. Dozens of young dancers perform alongside the professional company, bringing to life familiar characters as they perform magic tricks, cavort beneath a 38-foot Christmas tree, and lead families on a magical holiday adventure. Dec. 15-24. $30-105. THE VETS, 1 Avenue of the Arts, Providence. balletri.org

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Anthony Williams's "Urban Nutcracker" will be on stage at the Boch Center Shubert Theatre starting Dec. 16.Peter Paradise Michaels

URBAN NUTCRACKER Anthony Williams’s lively take on the classic ballet epitomizes his mission to promote diversity through dance. It blends Tchaikovsky’s brilliant orchestral score with Duke Ellington’s jazzy reinterpretation and embraces dance styles ranging from ballet to Bollywood, hip-hop to flamenco. This year’s production also features dancers from Guadeloupe, and an LGBTQ+-inclusive performance that features some performers in drag and some same-sex dance partnering. Dec. 16-23. $29-$125. Boch Center Shubert Theatre. www.bochcenter.org

THE SLUTCRACKER This “Nutcracker” parody may be set to music from Tchaikovsky’s beloved score, but the “ballet” is amped up with all manner of burlesque, making it bawdy fun that is distinctly adults-only. As the show follows the adventures of a grown-up Clara, it celebrates body diversity and sexual freedom with unabashed abandon and lots of glitter. Dec. 1-31. $35. Somerville Theatre, Somerville. theslutcracker.com

This story has been updated to correct a reporting error in the end date of “Mikko Nissinen’s The Nutcracker,” performed by Boston Ballet.


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