'Tis the time of year when Nutcrackers abound. Not just the hand tool that busts open your chestnuts for you, but the Tchaikovsky ballet about a young girl's Christmas dreams. Saint Louis Ballet stages a grand version of the beloved show, one that features 21 professional dancers and more than 80 students. How do they get all those people on one stage? That's choreographer Gen Horiuchi's secret. Watch as Clara enters a Christmas wonderland rife with dancing snowflakes, a growing Christmas tree and a dramatic battle between the nasty Mouse King and brave Nutcracker soldier who whisks Clara away to the Land of Sweets via sleigh. Saint Louis Ballet's The Nutcracker is presented at at 7 p.m. Friday and 2:30 and 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (December 20 through 22), and then at 7 p.m. Thursday and 2:30 and 7 p.m. Friday through Sunday (December 26 through 29) at the Touhill Performing Arts Center on the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus (1 University Boulevard and Natural Bridge Road; 314-516-4949 or www.touhill.org). Tickets are $28 to $52.
Thursdays-Sundays. Starts: Dec. 20. Continues through Dec. 29, 2013