There is something about the joy and vitality of dance that makes it perfectly suited for the holiday season. The stage aglow, we can cast aside any care and just revel in the pageantry and glamour. Luckily, whether you're seeking a timeless classic like The Nutcracker or something never before seen, the local dance community has you covered. The middle of December is full of performances so there should be something for even those with the busiest of schedules (or go ahead and clear your calendar and enjoy weeks of dance).
Hot on the heels of Thanksgiving celebrations, Bayside Ballet presents its second annual production of The Nutcracker this weekend. Come be carried away with young Clara as we enter her dreams and see her valiantly battle the Rat King alongside her beloved, charming Nutcracker. Featuring professional guest dancers from San Francisco’s Bay Pointe Ballet Company and a cast of local talent of all ages, this take on the Christmas classic is sure to be a delight. Presented at the Van Duzer Theatre at Humboldt State, there is an evening show Friday, November 27 at 8 p.m. and matinees November 28 and 29 at 1 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for children 12 and under. As an extra treat, young fans will have an opportunity to meet the dancers and receive a special holiday treat after the Sugar Plum Fairy matinee performances.
Though not holiday themed, it is worth taking in the Humboldt State University dance department's presentations of the semester's work. On Tuesday, Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. student choreographers and performers will show off their work in a diverse range of styles during the Choreography Projects. Thursday, Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m. you can view pieces presented by each dance class during the fun and casual Evening of Dance. Both shows are in the John Van Duzer Theatre at HSU.
To kick off your seasonal cheer in December, take in North Coast Dance Academy's presentation of The Nutcracker, featuring plenty of en pointe work. Professional guest dancers include Jessica Gadzinski, Stephen Jacobson, Ken Scott and Bryton Foster, who'll dance the Nutcracker part. This beloved classic graces the stage at the Arkley Center for the Performing Arts, running Dec. 11 through 16. Tickets begin at $20 for adults. (Note: If you're seeking a little extra glitz, there will be an opening night reception hosted at the Ingomar Club for an additional cost.) For more information regarding show times and to purchase tickets, call 442-7779.
For dance aficionados seeking a show a little closer to Southern Humboldt, the Ferndale Dance Academy offers its Holiday Dance Festival at the Winema Theater in Scotia. Performances are Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 12 at 5 p.m. and tickets are just $10. For more information, visit www.ferndaledance.com or call 496-0805.
Trillium Dance Studios presents its annual holiday show 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. Returning for its ninth year, this adaptation of the classic poem includes a cast of over 250 performers, including Kevin Sharkey returning in his role as the narrator. A whole host of holiday characters from toys to ornaments to Santa himself will show off their talents in styles ranging from ballet to tap. Returning to Humboldt from Los Angeles to reprise his role as the Pirate King is HSU graduate Jared Mathis, who recently attended the Debbie Allen Dance Academy summer intensive, including performing at the 2015 Special Olympics. There will be performances on Dec. 12 at 6 p.m. and Dec. 13 at 2 p.m. at the Eureka High School Theatre. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.trilliumdance.com or call 822-8408. Tickets prices begin at $15.
The following weekend, Trinity Ballet Company offers Nutcracker in Narnia at the North Coast Repertory Theatre with a single performance on Dec. 19 at 3:30 p.m. In this original ballet, performed by the Youth Ballet Theater, the royalty of Narnia, C.S. Lewis' fantasy world of talking animals and magic, host a holiday celebration with you as their guest. Tickets are $12; seating is limited and advanced purchase is recommended. For additional information, call 839-1816.
If you still have visions of sugar plums dancing in your head, Dance Scene Studio and its Sundance Ballet Company present their take on The Nutcracker at the Van Duzer Theatre at Humboldt State on Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 20 at 2 p.m. More than 75 dancers will take the stage, and Bay Area pro Charles Torres joins the proceedings in the part of the Cavalier. Tickets begin at $18. For more information, call 502-2188.
Rounding out the season, is No Limits Dance Academy's Candy Cane Lane, a sweet, cheerful holiday medley of styles ranging from hip-hop to ballet. There will be performances at the Arkley Center for the Performing Arts on Dec. 19 at 6 p.m. and December 20 at 2 p.m. For more information and to purchase tickets, call 825-0922.
With all the wintery, wondrous offerings, it will take a little planning to make sure you don't miss any of the magic — go ahead and mix yourself up some cocoa and sit down to pencil in some pirouettes.
Note: This article has been altered from a previous version that omitted Bayside Ballet's performance.