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‘Nutcracker’ performances spread magic across metro Atlanta

The Atlanta Ballet’s production of “The Nutcracker” is the metro area’s biggest and most lavish production of the magical holiday show, but it’s far from the only one. Some have already come and gone this season, but these other home-grown “Nutcrackers” will be on pointe in December.

>> RELATED: High tech, holiday traditions meet in Atlanta Ballet’s new ‘Nutcracker’

Ballethnic Dance Co.

“Urban Nutcracker” has been an Atlanta tradition since it debuted at the Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. Chapel in 1992. The brainchild of Ballethnic Dance Co. co-founders Nena Gilreath and Waverly T. Lucas II, the production transplants the story from 19th-century Europe to Atlanta’s Sweet Auburn neighborhood in the 1940s.

Nena Gilreath, shown doing the Spanish dance in the second act of “Urban Nutcracker,” is a Ballethnic Dance Co. co-founder. CONTRIBUTED BY BALLETHNIC (For the AJC)

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Coached by Lydia Abarca-Mitchell, principal performers include Karla Tyson as “Brown Sugar” (the Sugar Plum Fairy character), Waverly Lucas as the party host, Sheila Spivey as the narrator Big Mama and young dancers from the Ballethnic Academy of Dance as the protagonist, Sarah. The cast draws on Ballethnic’s professional dance ensemble, youth dancers and senior adults from the company’s adult classes.

In addition, Ballethnic will also present the show’s second half under the name “Urban Nutcracker: Wonderland” in a staging aimed at families with younger children.

“Urban Nutcracker: Wonderland.” Dec. 14-16. 10 a.m. and noon Friday, 3 and 5 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. $10-$20. Porter Sanford III Performing Arts and Community Center, 3181 Rainbow Drive, Decatur.

“Urban Nutcracker.” Dec. 20-23. 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. $20-$40. Viola Turner Theater, Tri-Cities High School, 2575 Harris St., East Point. ballethnic.org.

Atlanta Dance Theatre

For its 37th season, this company based in Johns Creek presents “The Nutcracker” at the Roswell Cultural Arts Center.

Dec. 7-9. 7:30 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. $17.50-$27.50. Roswell Cultural Arts Center, 950 Forrest St, Roswell. atlantadancetheatre.org.

Gwinnett Ballet Theatre

Gwinnett County’s oldest nonprofit performing arts organization, this school and pre-professional dance company presents its 37th production of “The Nutcracker” with more than 100 dancers and live musical accompaniment.

Dec. 7-16. 8 p.m. Friday, 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday (no performance Dec. 15) and 2 p.m. Sunday (with 5 p.m. performance Dec. 16). $32-$39. Infinite Energy Center, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth. 770-626-2464, gwinnettballet.orgInfiniteEnergyCenter.com.

Metropolitan Ballet Theatre

Under founding director Maniya Barredo, the Alpharetta-based company presents a full-length version of the ballet. Metropolitan Ballet Theatre also offers “Storytime With the Sugar Plum Fairy” matinees that include both the performance and special visits from all the characters from the Land of Sweets.

Dec. 14-16. 7:30 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, 2 and 6 p.m. Sunday. $15-$40. Blessed Trinity High School, 11320 Woodstock Road, Roswell. 678-297-2800, metropolitanballet.org.

Sugarloaf Ballet

Under artistic director Lori Zamzow-Wire and company director Michelle Bourgeois, this Suwanee-based organization presents “A Sugarloaf Ballet Christmas,” in which “Nutcracker Excerpts” shares the evening with “Nativity Ballet’s” mix of inspirational music and both classical and contemporary choreography. “Nutcracker Excerpts” includes such favorites as “Waltz of the Flowers” and the Spanish and Arabian dances.

“A Sugarloaf Ballet Christmas.” Dec. 5-6. 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. No ticket purchase required. Infinite Energy Center, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth. 770-626-2464, sugarloafballet.orgInfiniteEnergyCenter.com.

IN OTHER NEWS

2018 marks 28 years collecting toys and gifts for foster kids across Georgia! Every Christmas, Clark Howard and News 95.5 and AM750 WSB join with the Georgia Department of Family and Children’s Services to provide gifts for the foster kids all across Georgia.

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