Holiday picks: Joffrey ‘Nutcracker’ & Lula Washington ‘Kwanzaa’


Dance critics — that bad bunch of bah-hambugg’ers — roll their eyes at the words, “The Nutcracker.”

But when the houselights dim, and the Tchaikovsky pours forth, just catch a glimpse of their faces. You know — when the Sugar Plum Whatzz’its dance before their eyes? They love it.

You’d have to be a Certified Meanie to not fall for Gerald Arpino’s gorgeous circular staging of Tchaikovsky’s “Waltz of the Snowflakes.” That’s on view — a super-professional Nutcracker ballet — opening this Thursday night at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

But for my holiday dance jollies, I would not miss Lula Washington Dance Theatre’s annual Kwanzaa celebration, this year held at the Nate Holden Theater, one of the friendliest houses in town. Like to groove to the sound of thumping, live drumming? Enjoy seeing the body in motion? Relish the joy of movement? I attended this ballistic, dance-crammed marathon last year, and couldn’t believe what sensational fun a dance concert can be. 

The felicitous timing of these two performances, one following the other, allows you to attend both. Happy Holidays!

Joffrey Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” | Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at the Music Center | Dorothy Chandler Pavilion | opens Dec 1

Annual Kwanzaa Celebration | Lula Washington Dance Theatre | Nate Holden Theater | Dec 29-30

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