Local ballet companies offer their own holiday traditions


Once again this holiday season, two local companies are taking a break from presenting the traditional ballet, "The Nutcracker," and offering up their own versions of festive family fare.

'Twas the Night'

For the 13th year in a row, Dancers Repertory Theatre is staging "'Twas the Night Before Christmas," a colorful spectacle with a cast of 90 adults and children acting out Clement C. Moore's poem of the same name.

Artistic director and choreographer Coleen Duncan says they have been rehearsing since September and have added more bling to their costumes this season.

Tickets cost $22 and are on sale now for shows on Sunday, Dec. 3, at 1 and 4 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 9, at 3 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 10, at 1 and 4 p.m., at Woodside High School Performing Arts Center, 199 Churchill Ave. near Woodside.

Go to twasthenight.org to reserve a seat.

'Wonderful Nutcracker'

The professional company Menlowe Ballet and students from its associated ballet school, the Menlo Park Academy of Dance, are performing "It's a Wonderful Nutcracker" for the third year in a row.

The two-hour program blends two stories – Tchaikovsky's ballet and Frank Capra's film from the 1940s, "It's a Wonderful Life." The message: the importance of sharing time with family and friends.

Performances are at the Performing Arts Center on the Menlo-Atherton High School campus at 555 Middlefield Road in Atherton.

Show times are Friday, Dec. 8, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 9, at 2 and 7 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 10, at 2 p.m.; Friday, Dec. 15, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 16, at 2 and 7 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 17, at 2 p.m.

Go to menloweballet.org to buy tickets ranging from $28 to $55.

New this year, the dancers are putting on a shorter, 45-minute "sensory-friendly" version called "It's a Suite Nutcracker" on Sunday, Dec. 10, at 11 a.m. "for children and adults with developmental disabilities," says Menlowe Ballet's executive director, Lisa Shiveley.

The music, sounds and lights will be softened, "and audience members are welcome to verbally express their delight and exit/re-enter the theater as needed," she explained.

Tickets for that special matinee are $20.

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