Because we’re all in extended glucose comas at this time of year, dreaming hiccup dreams of Mouse Kings and gingerbread soldiers and, on occasion, sugarplums disguised as fairies, the eternally present option of seeing those fantasies played out with a nutcracker in ballet slippers will probably trouble your slumber at least one time this month. The somewhat hackneyed ballet from Tchaikovsky via Alexandre Dumas has become a sort of holiday unto itself, charming little girls with its oddly violent mysticism of personal transformation that was only a dream. Avoidance is basically futile. Accordingly, Orlando likes to doll itself up with numerous performances of the piece in varying shapes and sizes meant to appease the shapes and sizes of its audience. This year, Orlando Ballet offers three different takes on the classic, with the attention-span shortened Family Series clocking in at just 60 minutes, a school show for field-tripping kids and the regular old beast for the grumpy purists. Way out in Touristan, the Central Florida Ballet presents a similarly sugarcoated package at the Orange County Convention Center, including a Nutcracker Brunch at the Peabody Hotel before the Sunday matinee. And the Russian Academy of Ballet performs an outdoor version at Lake Eola Park. Whichever way, you signed up for this when you bought into that whole family Christmas thing. Eat your nuts and like them! – Billy Manes
Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre
401 W. Livingston St.
11 a.m. and 3 p.m., Dec. 22
11 a.m., Dec. 23
10:15 a.m., Dec. 19-20
7:30 p.m., Dec. 20-22
2 p.m., Dec. 23
Central Florida Ballet
7:30 p.m., Dec. 22
2 p.m., Dec. 23 (11:30 a.m. brunch)
Linda Chapin Theater in the Orange County Convention Center
Russian Academy of Ballet
7:30 p.m., Dec. 22
Lake Eola Park
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