I am a ballet fanatic, so I will always opt for the Nutcracker with the best dancing. In other words, the priciest option. That option may not be for you. Perhaps you require a venue where you can have a nearby holiday experience with the kids and still have money remaining for dinner. I love my nephews, but $110 ballet tickets for them would’ve been a waste! Most kids aren’t dance critics, but seeing fun costumes and characters on stage will excite for the season.
What follows is a list of local Nutcrackers and what I believe they offer. I included the list price. Check Goldstar for deals. Most of these are Goldstar.
Don’t forget that there will be a high-definition broadcast of The Bolshoi performing The Nutcracker on December 17. These events are thrilling, are affordable (around $17) and play at several movie theaters.
American Ballet Theater at Segerstrom Center for The Arts
Priciest option ($119 – $29) but awesome dancers, awesome live orchestra and always great costumes. Thankfully, Segerstrom lists which principal dancers will be in each show. This is your chance to get your little girls to see Misty Copeland. There are also some other fantastic ABT dancers such as Daniil Simkin. He defies gravity!
Festival Ballet at the Irvine Barclay Theater
Mid-priced at $45. Festival Ballet gives me some local pride. Their young dancers are impressive. The Barclay is small, so all the seats are good. Also, The Festival Ballet brings in celeb dancers from other companies. Maria Kochetcova performs on Dec. 17. She is anti-gravitational, similar to Daniil Simkin. Also, Irina Drovovenko, star of TV shows The Americans and Flesh and Bone, performs on Dec. 20 – 21. The only downside: no live orchestra.
Anaheim Ballet with the Irvine Symphony at City National Grove of Anaheim Theater
Lower priced at $25 – $17. I have not seen The Anaheim Ballet, but some of my dance friends say it is respectable. Live orchestra.
Tustin Dance Center at Plummer Auditorium (Fullerton)
Lowest priced at $17 – $11 from a local dance studio. No other info.
Ballet Repertory Theatre of Huntington Beach at Golden West College Main Stage
Second lowest priced at $19 – $15 from a local dance studio. No other info.
Sunrise Ballet at the Servite Theater (Anaheim)
Low priced at $20 from a local dance studio. No other info.
Laguna Ballet at The McKinney Theater
Low priced at $26 – $22 from a local dance studio. No other info.
Coast City Ballet at Huntington Beach Historical Theater
Low priced at $25 from a local dance studio. No other info.
Maple Conservatory Ballet at Portola High School (Irvine)
Low priced at $30 – $24 from a local dance studio. No other info.
Los Angeles County
American Contemporary Ballet in Downtown LA
Pricey at $105 – $40. This is the ensemble to see if you are a big dance fan want to experience something new. I’ve written before about the unique experience of an ACB show. You are inches away from the stage, the live music is fantastic, the show is educational, the studio has a loft vibe about it and there is an artist reception after the show. The downside: This is not the full show – it is 60 minutes in length.
Miami City Ballet at The Music Center
The priciest option at $125 – $34. Live orchestra (plus parking). This ensemble is big on the B-word: Balanchine, so we can expect some sharp choreography. They also claim new costumes, new sets and a world premiere. The premier may be the sets/costumes or perhaps it is the first time The Miami City Ballet does the Balanchine choreography. The Music Center offers all the nearby architecture that will dazzle the kids and the out-of-town guests. There is also plenty of convenient dining on the grounds and a big courtyard where the kids can run around.
Los Angeles Ballet at various locations
Pricey at $84 ($119 with live orchestra). Los Angeles Ballet is respectable. I’ve enjoyed their performances
Moscow Ballet at the Wiltern
Second priciest option at $123 – $66. I am embarrassed. I have not heard about The Moscow Ballet. Their web page is effusive about the sets and special effects. In my snobby way, I think that Russians maintain a high standard when it comes to ballet, so I would take a gamble on it. No mention of a live orchestra. Of course, The Wiltern is an Art Deco masterpiece.
Long Beach Ballet at Long Beach Performing Arts Center, Terrace Theater
Less expensive than some at $75 – $35. Full orchestra. Other than that, I know nothing about this ensemble or the venue.
Debbie Allen Dance Academy Hot Chocolate Nutcracker at The Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center
Expensive at $110 – $50. This sounds like something to see if you are bored of Nutcracker. A mashup. That’s all I know.
Westside Academy of Ballet at The Broad Stage
Reasonable at $45. I haven’t seen them but I know that they have great instructors.
San Pedro Ballet at The Warner Grand Annex
Reasonable at $29 – $19 from a local dance studio. No other info except that they discovered Misty Copeland.
Palos Verdes Ballet at The Norris Pavilion for the Performing Arts
Reasonable at $35 – $25. Reasonable at $34 – $24. Local studio claims their dancers earn scholarships to name-brand companies.
South Bay Ballet at The Marsee Auditorium
Reasonable at $34 – $24. Local studio claims their dancers go on to name-brand companies.