Theater & dance

Holiday Arts Preview 2016

Holiday Arts Preview: Dance picks

A 2015 performance of “The Nutcracker” by José Mateo Ballet Theatre.
Michele McDonald/file
A 2015 performance of “The Nutcracker” by José Mateo Ballet Theatre.

THE NUTCRACKER For sheer opulence and impressive dancing, local audiences can’t beat Boston Ballet’s vivid production. Set to a live orchestral performance of Tchaikovsky’s score, this one’s the whole package. Nov. 25-Dec. 31. $35-$250. Boston Opera House. 617-695-6955,

THE NUTCRACKER José Mateo Ballet Theatre’s streamlined narrative, intimate staging, and vibrant dancing make this a good introduction to the ballet, with lively, affordable performances. Nov. 25-Dec. 4, Cutler Majestic Theatre. Dec. 9-18, Strand Theatre. $20-$75. 617-354-7467,

NEWPORT NUTCRACKER AT ROSECLIFF It’s the 15th anniversary of this popular “Nutcracker” production by Island Moving Co. Set in Newport’s romantic Rosecliff mansion, the ballet moves from one elegant room to the next, including pivotal moments on the iconic staircase. Nov. 25-Dec. 2. $55-$99. Rosecliff, 548 Bellevue Ave., Newport, R.I. 401-847-4470,


AURORA BOREALIS: A FESTIVAL OF LIGHT AND DANCE Boston University faculty and students celebrate the relationship between light and form. The 15th annual concert includes choreography ranging from aerial work to hip-hop, jazz, and improv. Dec. 4-5. Free. Boston University Dance Theater. 617-353-1597,

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GUMDROPS & THE FUNNY UNCLE Peter DiMuro/Public Displays of Motion, in partnership with the Dance Complex and Theater Offensive, offers a multigenerational holiday show through an LGBTQ lens. Via dance and stories, the production celebrates both the families we inherit by birth and those we create by choice. Dec. 14-18. $12-$30.
Boston Center for the Arts. 617-266-0800,

NUT/CRACKED Choreographer David Parker and his New York-based The Bang Group present their skewed, stylishly hilarious take on “The Nutcracker.” Ranging from tap to pointe work (on bubble wrap, no less!) the show gleefully waltzes through Tchaikovsky as well as music by Duke Ellington and Glenn Miller. Dec. 15-18. $12-$30. Boston Center for the Arts. 617-266-0800,

URBAN NUTCRACKER Anthony Williams’s show is a multicultural mix of classical ballet, flamenco, tap, hip-hop, and jazz. Set to Tchaikovsky and Duke Ellington, the ballet traces Clarice’s journey through a magical urban landscape. Dec. 16-31. $25-$85. Tony Williams Dance Center at John Hancock Hall. 888-596-1027,

12 DANCERS DANCING . . . A CHRISTMAS IN CAMBRIDGE Curated by Honey Blonder, this quirkily original take on holiday festivities includes Rainbow Tribe, Legacy Dance Company, North Shore Civic Ballet, Boston Community Dance Project, and Contemporarily Out of Order. Dec. 16-17. $15-$21. Dance Complex, Cambridge. 617-547-9363,


WHAT THE DICKENS! Deborah Mason’s Cambridge Youth Dance Program combines tap, flamenco, African, and other dance styles in this irreverent reimagining of “A Christmas Carol.” Set in a contemporary urban environment, the show features professional guest performers and choreography by Mason, Leslie Woodies and tap whiz Khalid Hill. Dec. 16-18. $30-$75. Boston University Dance Theater. 617-616-5124,

TAFUTA! A YOUNG CHILD’S SEARCH FOR THE TRUE MEANING OF KWANZAA Presented by OrigiNation Cultural Arts Center, this original musical conceived, written, and directed by Shaumba Yandje Dbinga celebrates a vibrant African-American tradition through dance and song. Dec. 16-17. $20-$22. Roxbury Community College Mainstage Theater. 617-522-3900,


Karen Campbell can be reached at