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    Holiday critic’s picks: Dance

    Boston Liturgical Dance Ensemble’s “Christmas Reflections.”
    JA Loftus S.J.
    Boston Liturgical Dance Ensemble’s “Christmas Reflections.”

    Gary Sloan
    Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre’s “The Nutcracker.”

    THE NUTCRACKER Boston Ballet’s grand and lavish production of this beloved holiday tradition may get a little extra romance this time around — one of the casts features two new principal dancers just arrived from La Scala, husband and wife Eris Nezha and Petra Conti. But the stars are only part of this always dazzling show. Nov. 29-Dec. 29, $35-$179. Boston Opera House. 617-695-6955,

    THE NUTCRACKER José Mateo Ballet Theatre spreads the wealth, taking its distinctively intimate yet colorful production to three different locations around the area. Mateo’s choreography is lovely, the story is streamlined, and there are lots of adorable children in the cast. Nov. 29-Dec. 1, $15-$50, Duxbury Performing Arts Center, Duxbury. Dec. 5-15, $38-$50, Sanctuary Theatre, Cambridge. Dec. 20-22, $15-$50, Strand Theater, Dorchester. 617-354-7467,

    CHRISTMAS REFLECTIONS Boston Liturgical Dance Ensemble’s annual production (a revamped version of the popular “A Dancer’s Christmas”) always feels like a family affair, as it gathers professional dancers, some with their own children, a big cast of kids, and community members for a dance celebration that homes in on the true spirit of Christmas. Dec. 20-22, $15. Boston College’s Robsham Theater Arts Center, Chestnut Hill. 617-552-4002,


    TAFUTA! A YOUNG BOY’S SEARCH FOR THE TRUE MEANING OF KWANZAA This dance-filled music theater presentation by OrigiNation Cultural Arts Center features NIA Dance Troupe, IMANI Jr., and more than 50 young performers in a celebratory show about Kwanzaa. Dec. 21, 7 p.m., $18 in advance, $20 at the door. Roxbury Community College Mainstage Theater, Roxbury. 617-541-1875,

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    NEWPORT NUTCRACKER AT ROSECLIFF Island Moving Company sets its popular production of the classic in Newport’s elegant and romantic Rosecliff mansion, moving the ballet’s action from room to room, from the sweetheart staircase to the grand ballroom to the dining room. Nov. 29-Dec. 6, $50-$90. Rosecliff, 548 Bellevue Ave., Newport, RI. 401-847-4470,

    NOT! THE NUTCRACKER This annual production by the Jeannette Neill Dance Studio expresses the spirit of the season with a twist, featuring dance styles ranging from modern to jazz to hip-hop. Hyperbole Dance takes the special guest slot. Dec. 6-7, 8 p.m., $20 pre-sale, $25 at the door. Boston University’s Tsai Performance Center. 617-523-1355,

    Thomas Palmer
    “Newport Nutcracker at Rosecliff.”

    URBAN NUTCRACKER Tony Williams’s popular multicultural version of the E.T.A. Hoffmann tale puts an urban contemporary spin on the choreography, blending ballet with elements of tap, hip-hop, swing, flamenco, step, and jazz, fueled by music that alternates between the traditional Tchaikovsky score and Duke Ellington’s jazz suite. The professional cast is seeded with an array of guest artists and children. Dec. 6-22, $25-$85. John Hancock Hall. 888-596-1027,

    12 DANCERS DANCING . . . A CHRISTMAS IN CAMBRIDGE Honey Blonder’s lively, offbeat holiday dance celebration always brings together an intriguing mix of performers. This year’s fest includes Rainbow Tribe, Intimations Dance, Boston Community Dance Project, Derrick Davis, Disco Brats, and Impact Dance Company, among others. Dec. 13-15, $20, $12 seniors and children. The Dance Complex, Cambridge. 617-547-9363,


    THE NUTCRACKER Boston Dance Company, under the direction of James Reardon, boasts a colorful production of the perennial favorite that hearkens back to the original choreography of Boston Ballet founder E. Virginia Williams. The Dorchester performances are now in their 19th year. Dec. 6, Collins Center for Performing Arts, Andover. Dec. 11-12, Strand Theatre, Dorchester. $25, $18 seniors and children 12 & under. 617-491-8615,

    WHAT THE DICKENS! Cambridge Youth Dance Program transforms “A Christmas Carol” into an hourlong multistyle dance production about a female corporate miser named Ebeneeza. Guest performers include the street dance duo of Billy and Bobby McClain (”The Wondertwins”) and Carl Alleyne’s BeanTown Lockers. Dec. 13-15, $30, $25 seniors and students. Boston University Dance Theater. 617-497-1448,


    Karen Campbell can be reached at