Dreidels dance in The MeshugaNutcracker!

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Cultural Weekly is taking two weeks off, so here is a double serving of dance events including flamenco in East Hollywood, Louise Reichlin in Canoga Park, Pieter’s holiday fest in Lincoln Heights, Lula Washington does Kwanzaa in Crenshaw, a quartet of local dance troupes in the Music Center Holiday Celebration and lots of Nutcrackers, from Los Angeles Ballet’s and American Ballet Theatre’s traditional versions to a Hot Chocolate take from Debbie Allen and the MeshugaNutcracker!

5.  Pieter performs

Short performances from teachers and students who call Pieter home are featured in the inaugural Pieter Holiday Concert. Keeping with the venue’s tradition, the show is free with a non-monetary donation to the free bar such as cider, wine or hot chocolate to mull on the hotplate, hot chocolate, holiday cookies or dancer snacks) or for the free boutique such as a vacuum cleaner, desk chair, warm layers, dance books, picture frames. Pieter, 420 W. Avenue 33, Lincoln Heights; Sat., Dec. 17, 7 p.m., free with non-monetary donation. http://pieterpasd.com.

Louis Reichlin's L.A. Choreographers & Dancers Photo courtesy of the company
Louis Reichlin’s L.A. Choreographers & Dancers. Photo courtesy of the company

4.  Reichlin remembers

In A Jewish Child’s Story, choreographer Louise Reichlin draws on memories of relatives lost in the Holocaust for four short danceworks for her Los Angeles Choreographers & Dancers. Madrid Theatre, 21622 Sherman Way, Canoga Park. Wed., Dec. 21, 7:30 p.m. free. 213-385-1171, louisehr@LAChoreographersAndDancers.org.


3.  Flamenco for the holidays

The holiday edition of the mostly monthly Forever Flamenco series, Nochebuena en Triana (Christmas Eve in Triana) brings guitarist Antonio Triana with dancers Vanessa Albalos, Cristina Hall and Oscar Valero, with singer Antonio de Jerez, percussionist Joey Heredia, and guitar is Kai Narezo. Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Ave., E.Hollywood; Sun., Dec. 18, 8 p.m., 40-$50, $30 seniors & students. 323- 663-1525, http://FountainTheatre.com.

2.  Eight days of dancing dreidels

Dancing dreidels spin to a klezmer interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s beloved score in The MeshugaNutcracker! Brimming with Chanukah traditions, the familiar Nutcracker tunes are the framework for this musical taking a warm and whimsical look at Chanukah lore through songs and dances (those dreidels, leaping latkes and citizens from Chelm, a fictional town of fools). In keeping with the holiday, performances extend for eight nights and include the lighting of a life-size human menorah, the singing of the Chanukah blessings, and a sing-along of Chanukah songs. The New Year’s Eve show boasts a post-performance meet and greet with sparkling cider, desserts, and a near-to-midnight toast. Gindi Auditorium at the American Jewish University, 15600 Mulholland Dr., Brentwood; Tues., Dec. 20, 7 p.m., Wed., Dec. 21 & 28, 2 & 7 p.m., Thurs., Dec. 22 & 29, 7 p.m., Sat., Dec. 24 & 31, 8 p.m., Sun., Dec. 25 & Jan. 1, 2 & 7 p.m., Mon.-Tues., Dec. 26-27, 7 p.m., $63-$72. http://themeshuganutcracker.com

Los Angeles Ballet's Nutcracker Photo by Reed Hutchinson
Los Angeles Ballet’s Nutcracker Photo by Reed Hutchinson

1.  L.A.’s own Nutcracker

A brand-new, full length production of The Nutcracker set in Los Angeles circa 1912 was the audacious calling card when Los Angeles Ballet made its debut 11 years ago. Over the intervening years, the production has been polished to a lustrous patina and the dancing talent deepened as LAB’s Nutcracker has become an eagerly anticipated local holiday tradition. After this weekend’s opening, LAB can be found touring greater L.A. throughout December. With the onslaught of shopping frenzy, traffic congestion and uncertainties about the new year, a brief respite in a world of toy soldiers, dancing dolls, sugarplum fairies and brave nutcrackers provide a much needed source of comfort and joy. Tickets $31-$99, $24.50-$79 seniors, students & children 12 and under at 310-998-7782, http://LosAngelesBallet.org. UCLA Royce Hall, 340 Royce Dr., Westwood; Fri., Dec. 16, 7:30, Sat.-Sun., Dec. 17-18, 1 & 5 p.m., http://cap.ucla.edu. Also at Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Redondo Beach; Thurs.-Fri., Dec. 22-23, 7:30 p.m., Sat., Dec. 24, 11 a.m. & 3 p.m., http://rbpac.com.

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Can there be too many Nutcrackers? 

American Ballet Theatre's Nutcracker Photo courtesy of the company
American Ballet Theatre’s Nutcracker Photo courtesy of the company

American Ballet Theatre brings Alex Ratmansky’s The Nutcracker. For a full list of principal casting go to http://scfta.org. Fri.-Sat., Dec. 16-17, Sat., Dec. 17, 2 p.m., Sun., Dec. 18, 12:30 & 5: 30 p.m.; $20-$259. 714-556-2787, http://scfta.org.

Long Beach Ballet's Nutcracker Photo by Katie Bing
Long Beach Ballet’s Nutcracker Photo by Katie Bing

Long Beach Ballet takes the stage with a flying horse and other special effects for its Nutcracker. Long Beach Terrace Theater, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach; Sat., Dec. 17, 2 & 7:30 p.m., Sun., Dec. 18, 2 p.m., $27.20-$115. http://ticketmaster.com.

Inland Pacific Ballet’s Nutcracker with choreography by Victoria Koenig. Bridges Auditorium, Pomona College, 450 North College Way, Claremont; Sat., Dec.  17, 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m., Sun., Dec. 18, 2 p.m., $21-$56. http://ipballet.org.

Debbie Allen's Hot Chocolate Nutcracker Photo courtesy of the company
Debbie Allen’s Hot Chocolate Nutcracker Photo courtesy of the company

Debbie Allen’s Hot Chocolate Nutcracker brings Miss Allen distinctive take on the traditional ballet. Music Center Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Fri., Dec. 16, 7:30 p.m., Sat., Dec. 17, 1 & 7:30 p.m., $34-$125. http://musiccenter.org.

Moscow Ballet’s Great Russion Nutcracker has troupes touring all over the country this month. One lands in L.A. this weekend.  Wiltern Theater, 3790 Wilshire Blvd., mid-Wilshire; Fri., Dec. 16, 7 p.m., Sat., Dec. 17, 1 & 5 p.m., $43.50$253.50. http://ticketmaster.com.

Week of December 23-29

Los Angeles Ballet Nutcracker concludes at Redondo Performing Arts Center (see above).

The MeshugaNutcracker! concludes at Gindi Auditorium (see above).

JazzAntiqua Dance & Music Photo courtesy of the company
JazzAntiqua Dance & Music Photo courtesy of the company

Music Center Holiday Celebration. Four local dance companies are part of the line up for this annual event. Grandeza Mexicana Folk Ballet Company brings folklórico dance from the region of Tabasco, Mexico, an African-American spiritual inspired Pat Taylor’s JazzAntiqua Music and Dance Ensemble, Kayamanan Ng Lahi shares festive dances from the Philippines and Kim Eung Hwa Dance Company offers a traditional fan dance and a more contemporary fan dance to Jungle Bell Rock. The concert is free as is the parking, but plan for long lines. The program will also be televised on KOCE-PBS SoCal. Music Center Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Sat., Dec. 24, 3-6 p.m., free. http://musiccenter.org.


Lula Washington Kwanzaa Celebration lasts almost as long as the Kwanzaa celebration itself. Washington and her contemporary dance troupe have established themselves as The place to soak up the Kwanzaa principals valuing community and family. Lula Washington Dance Studios, 3373 Crenshaw Blvd., Crenshaw district; Wed.-Fri., Dec. 28-30, 7:30 p.m., Sat., Dec. 31, 3 p.m., $35, $25 seniors & students, $15 children on floor mats, $10 children in laps. http://lulawashington.org, http://brownpapertickets.com.

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