Take a break from shopping and stress and take a seat for one of the most beloved holiday family traditions, a live performance of The Nutcracker ballet. The classic story, set to one of the most recognized and beautiful pieces of classical music, takes the stage when North Coast Dance's The Nutcracker waltzes into the Arkley Center for the Performing Arts Dec. 15-19 ($15-$25). Each performance features a special event: Friday, Dec. 15 at 8 p.m. enjoy opening night desserts; on Saturday, Dec. 16 at 2 p.m. there's a Sugar Plum matinee with free Ramones cookies; on Saturday, Dec. 16 at 8 p.m., enjoy a champagne and chocolate reception; on Sunday, Dec. 17 at 2 p.m. take photos with Santa; and on Tuesday, Dec. 19 at 7 p.m., it's a special photo session with the Nutcracker and Clara.
Another lovely family tradition comes to life when Trillium Dance Studio performs its annual holiday show 'Twas the Night before Christmas, inspired by Clement C. Moore's classic poem by the same name on Saturday, Dec. 16 at 6 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 17 at 2 p.m. at the Van Duzer Theatre ($10-$15). The show is "danced by and for children of all ages and adults," with choreography by artistic director Erin McKeever and studio instructors. It features solo artists Haylee Wolff, Kelby Cooper and Lauren Baker, and is narrated by Kevin Sharkey.