Three versions of The Nutcracker in one week became a delightful adventure into the realm of creativity. Starting from the same storyline and music, Indianapolis-based dancers, choreographers, designers, directors and musicians (live or recorded) put their personal stamps on a holiday tradition growing out of the 1954 presentation by George Balanchine at the New York City Ballet. Butler Ballet opens the season in early December, followed by Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre and Central Indiana Dance Ensemble. In all three, strong dancing by their respective Sugarplum Fairies and Cavaliers were highlights. And, in each, all the dancers brought an infectious joy and directness to their roles. This reviewer was especially touched by the bursts of delight closing the first and opening the second acts for both GHDT and CIDE. In each case, tiny tots ushered in the Kingdoms of Snow and of Sweets. They get into the unfolding wonderment because they know something most adults have let go of. For those sparkling moments, we grown-ups are back into our secret selves — way, way back. Butler’s version is the most polished from a dancerly point of view. It and CIDE stay fairly close to the original storyline. GHDT veers to modernizing with societal questions. None of the versions stick to the original implications of a hovering-between-childhood-and-adolescence story, yet there are traces of that shimmering instant. Live music makes the Butler production that much richer. GHDT starts with the familiar Tchaikovsky score and rockets all over the place to bring us into a street-person’s ideas of world travel. Spectacle abounds in all three as dancers interpret different cultures. You still can catch the delights of dance with Ballet Internationale’s The Nutcracker Dec. 19-22 (239-1000, 637-8979 or www.ticketmaster.com) and Dance Kaleidoscope’s Home for the Holidays: Celebrating World Holiday Traditions (940-6555 or email@example.com). If budget allows, next year make the rounds of all five.