For the third year, my family will be catching the Carolina Ballet's The Nutcracker this Christmas season. But it isn't the only dance company to stage this holiday classic.
While not all of these productions feature professional dancers, they do give kids a glimpse of the story and can serve as a great introduction.
Here's where to find it:
Carolina Ballet opens its production Dec. 7 and Dec. 8 at UNC Memorial Hall in Chapel Hill. It moves to the Durham Performing Arts Center Dec. 14 and Dec. 15. It lands at the Duke Energy Center for Performing Arts on Raleigh on Dec. 21 where it stays until Dec. 29. The show includes some illusions, which were introduced a couple of years ago. In addition to the dance, costumes and story, the magic make this production very kid friendly. Last year, my then three-year-old was absolutely mesmerized. Ticket prices depend on where you see it, but they generally start around $25 each (plus fees) and go up.
The City Ballet will present its 21st annual performance of The Nutcracker, featuring guests artists from the Carolina Ballet, on Dec. 14 and Dec. 15, at Enloe High School in Raleigh. Tickets start at $10.
The Triangle Youth Ballet will present The Nutcracker for the 19th season at 7 p.m., Dec. 7, and 2 p.m., Dec. 8, at the Robert C. Haines Theater at Chapel Hill High School. It moves over to the Carolina Theatre in Durham with shows at 7 p.m., Dec. 14, and 2 p.m., Dec. 15. Tickets start at $10.
The Cary Ballet Company will present part of the classic at 7 p.m., Dec. 19 and Dec. 20, and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Dec. 21, at the Cary Arts Center in downtown Cary. It's part of the "A Very Cary Christmas" show. The performance also includes a piece featuring The 3D Project Dancers, a jazz company, which includes favorite holiday songs and a visit from Santa. Tickets are $12 for kids ages 1 to 17 and $15 for adults.
Infinity Ballet in Apex presents Nutcracker Dances on Dec. 7 and Dec. 8 at Halle Cultural Arts Center in downtown Apex. Tickets are $6.
The Jill M. Taylor Dance Company will present The Nutcracker on Dec. 15 at Wakefield High School in north Raleigh. Tickets start at $15 in advance.
The kids of Heather's Dance in Knightdale will raise money for the Raleigh Rescue Mission with their performance of The Nutcracker from Dec. 13 to Dec. 15 at East Wake High School.
Destiny Dance Institute will perform "A Christmas Gala" at Heritage High School in Wake Forest. It includes a modified version of The Nutcracker, along with performances from the studio's jazz, tap and hip hop companies. Shows are 3 p.m . and 7 p.m., Dec. 15. Call 919-453-1453 for details.
Goldsboro Ballet will perform The Nutcracker at the Paramount Theatre in Goldsboro on Nov. 30 to Dec. 2. Tickets are $12 for students and $15 for adults.
If you know of other Nutcracker productions, please share in the comments below.