Where To See 'The Nutcracker' In New York City This Holiday Season

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There's perhaps no theatre more closely associated with the holidays than The Nutcracker. It's more than just a ballet at this point. Balanchine's choreography paired with Tchaikovsky's trilling woodwind-driven orchestrations encapsulate all that there is about the season. If you think for just a moment, you can hear the dance of the sugarplum fairies somewhere from the recesses of your mind. This year though, there's more to the story than just girls on pointe. Here's where to see The Nutcracker in New York City this holiday season — and some of them are quite non-traditional.

While Balanchine may be the classic rendition of the ballet, and there's arguably no greater place to see it than here in the city, it's a long, long ballet, and while your 3-year-old might be gunning to see it, that much show might be a bit of a stretch for such a wee one. This year, there are a few different productions that offer shorter length, more action, and even a different take on the classic story altogether. You could take in one or two of these new shows as perhaps a warm up to seeing the full two-plus-hour Balanchine version in a few years. However, if your bit is ready? Go forth.

George Balanchine's Nutcracker At New York City Ballet

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It's perfect in every way. There are few things more magical than The Nutcracker at New York City Ballet. It's all the merriment of the season in a tutu. Walking by the huge Lincoln Center tree as you head into the theatre just adds to the ambiance. There are eight shows per week through Dec. 31 and prices range from $89 to $300 per ticket.

Hip Hop Nutcracker

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Drop the Balanchine, keep the Tchaikovsky and head for breakdancing sugar plum fairies and Clara dancing like you've never imagined. It's all new and fresh at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. It makes the whole experience new again. This one has a limited showing, with a performance on Dec. 15 and tickets are priced from $29 to $79.

Keith Michael's 'The Nutcracker'

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A quirkier, shorter version of the original, Keith Michael's The Nutcracker at Florence Gould Hall is really good fun. Last year, I was able to catch it when it was at Brookfield Place, and it was something else. My daughter "oooh'd" and "ahhh'd" the whole time. You can grab tickets priced $24 and up and see this show Dec. 15 through 17.

Moscow Ballet At Kings Theatre

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It's honestly worth it to go see this production just to go see the remodeled Kings Theatre if you haven't yet. It's stunning and so is the ballet. The Moscow Ballet is one of the world's top companies, and they make it look effortless. This year, there are two shows on Dec. 9 and tickets are priced from $45 to $180.

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