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'Nutcrackers' Alight in OC

7 ways to catch the holiday favorite ballet

Ballet Etudes performs its annual “Nutcracker” this month at Huntington Beach High School.

Sugar Plum Fairies abound with these Orange County "Nutcracker" offerings, arranged chronologically. Unless otherwise noted, all productions are performed to full-length recordings of Tchaikovsky’s score.

Nutcracker for Kids
A 45-minute version presented by the Pacific Symphony and Festival Ballet Theatre at Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. With live music, these two morning shows sell out fast. December 5. $35 and up. :: scfta.org

Ballet Etudes
Huntington Academy’s junior company presents a week-long run at the 600-seat Huntington High School auditorium. December 5-13. $20-$30. :: balletetudes.com

Festival Ballet Theatre
Top-tier guest artists complement the 100+ students from Southland Ballet Academy in this elegant production; growing ticket demand has led to a two-week run at Irvine Barclay. This year’s stellar roster includes Maria Kotchetkova and Tiit Helimets (San Francisco Ballet), Sara Mearns (New York City Ballet) and Fabrice Calmels (Joffrey Ballet), and Irina Dvorovenko and Maxim Beloserkovsky (former ABT principals). December 12-24. $40-$45. :: festivalballet.org

Laguna Ballet
The junior company of Laguna Dance Theatre performs at the 400-seat McKinney Theatre in Mission Viejo. December 16-19. $20-$24. :: saddleback.edu/arts

Coast City Ballet
The junior company from Pacific Dance Center also presents at Huntington High School auditorium. December 18 (preview for schools/troops) December 19-20 (public). $10-$24. :: coastcityballet.com

Anaheim Ballet
An enduring tradition, Anaheim’s professional ballet company’s two shows take place at the splashy City National Grove of Anaheim, with tiered concert seating.  December 19.  $22-45. :: anaheimballet.org

Maple Youth Ballet 
A full-length semi-pro rendition that posits Clara as an aspiring ballerina. December 19-21. $26-$30. Northwood High School Performing Arts Theatre. :: mapleconservatory.com

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