IU Ballet Theater"s Nutcracker on Dec. 7, at the Music Arts Center in Bloomington, is probably one of the finest interpretations this reviewer has attended. Jacques Cesbron"s sparkling, surprise-filled choreography is beautifully danced by a company in perfect partnership with Tchaikovsky"s joyful, airy music, played with delicious lightness by the University Orchestra, under the baton of guest conductor Michael Barrett. While one expects virtuoso dancing by the two guest artists from the American Ballet Theatre, Julie Kent as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Angel Corella as her Cavalier, they are not the only ones delivering outstanding performances. Throughout, the corps de ballet is letter perfect, including the young dancers, who are especially effective in the opening of Act 2. Moving from scene to scene with specificity and speed, it"s the outstanding miming by Dori Goldstein, as Clara, that unifies and gives the production its appropriate wonderment. Michael Schwandt"s lovely lighting enhances C. David Higgins" expansive set and the costumes designed by Higgins and Robert O. Hearn. The Butler Ballet performance on Dec. 6, at Clowes, shows a very different interpretation, in which a heaviness in choreography and dancing take away from Tchaikovsky"s dream-like cascades. Though not without its moments of charm and delight, one cannot dismiss the thought that this company is a team in transition, waiting for that inevitable spark to rekindle the winning ways we have come to expect from Butler"s fine program.