'Nutcracker' roundup 

Tis the season, which means almost every dance company in the greater Indianapolis area will be presenting their rendition of The Nutcracker. Here is a rundown of the performances to help you choose which one to see.

The Central Indiana Dance Ensemble will perform its ninth annual Nutcracker — a two act classical ballet with a cast of over 100 dancers — at Zionsville Performing Arts Center, 1000 Mulberry St., Zionsville, Dec. 5-7. Artistic director Suzann DeLay promises new choreography, special scenery changes, new costumes and a few surprises. Show times are Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for children under 18.

CIDE also offers The Sugar Plum Fairy Teas for its youngest audience members. Guests enjoy cake and punch, make a craft, meet cast members and have a souvenir picture taken with members of the cast. The tea parties will be held before each matinee performance at 12:30 p.m. and cost $10 per person. Additionally, audience members can attend an autograph and photo session on stage with the cast after reach matinee. Girl Scouts attending a performance can earn a commemorative CIDE participation patch.

For the fourth consecutive year, CIDE will provide a free performance for several inner city and outlying schools at 10 a.m. Friday.

For tickets or more information, call 317-844-7453 or visit the web at www.cidedance.org.

The Gregory Hancock Dance Company will present its full-length modern version of The Nutcracker presented entirely by students and the dancers of G2, the pre-professional company of GHDT, Dec. 5-7 at the Pike Performing Arts Center, 6701 Zionsville Road. This Nutcracker follows the same general storyline as the original, but portrays Klara as a homeless orphan girl who discovers the true meaning of the season through the gift and giving spirit of a homeless man. The show includes both holiday music and lively ethnic music of many countries, and over 100 dancers. Show times are Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20, $10 for students and senior citizens. Call Pike at 317-216-5455 or go to www.pikepac.org for reservations.

 Butler Ballet’s The Nutcracker, a favorite for more than 25 years, will open the university’s 2008-2009 dance season Dec. 4-7 at Clowes Memorial Hall. The production will feature the Butler Symphony Orchestra and the Indianapolis Children’s Choir performing Tchaikovsky’s well-known score. Thirty-three young dancers from Central Indiana will join nearly 100 Butler Ballet students. Show times are Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $21.50-$28.50, $17-$23 for children, students and seniors through Ticketmaster. For information, call 317-940-6444.

The Indiana Ballet Company, Indiana’s only resident, professional classical ballet company, and the affiliated Russian Ballet Academy of Indiana will present the closest surviving version of the original Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov Nutcracker of 1892. Artistic director Alyona Yakovleva says, “In my opinion, Vainonen’s version is the best of all the Nutcrackers” because of its added psychological depth and emphasis upon an underlying message.  Performances are at the Madame Walker Theatre, 617 Indiana Ave., Dec. 5-13, Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. Tickets — $20; ages 13-18, seniors and military $15; and ages 5-12 $10 — are available at Indianaballetcompany.com or by calling 317-501-9673.


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