All It's Cracked Up To Be 

How do you count down the days till Christmas? Some people use the traditional Advent calendar, some folks gauge the holiday proximity by the increasing insanity of their children, and others time it by the explosion of Rankin/Bass television specials. Me, I go by Nutcrackers; you never find a Nutcracker performed in July, March or November. Once December hits, the Nutcrackers come fast and furious — it's a Christmas tradition that rouses every ballet company to pull out all the stops. Slipping in just inside December's first weekend, the Joffrey Ballet returns to town to perform Nutcracker at the Fox. This is an old-school production, with period Victorian sets, beguiling costumes, a large contingent of local dance students mixed in with the company and the Ballet Orchestra of St. Louis performing Tchaikovsky's score. Dance St. Louis presents Nutcracker at the Fox at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 1 and 6 p.m. Sunday (December 2 through 5) at the Fox Theatre (527 North Grand Boulevard; 314-534-1111 or www.fabulousfox.com). Tickets are $25 to $75.
Dec. 2-5, 2010

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