In step with the season

This may be the last time you’ll see this costume at the Boston Ballet’s version of “The Nutcracker.”

December

Raks Nativity
Dec. 11, 7:30 p.m.
Cambridge Family
YMCA Theatre
820 Mass. Ave., Cambridge
$10-$12, 888-771-0809
www.raksnativity.bellydancernepenthe.com
The Ahlam Selene Dance Company presents a different spin on the standard Christmas story, illustrating its scenes with Middle Eastern dance and music from locales as far-flung as Egypt and Moorish Spain. The performance benefits Cradles to Crayons, a charity that helps provide needy children 12 and under with basic necessities.

‘Urban Nutcracker’
Dec. 3-18
Wheelock Family Theatre
200 The Riverway, Boston
$25-$50, 617-879-2300
www.wheelockfamilytheatre.org
Same old “Nutcracker” giving you the doldrums year after year? Dig this: BalletRox, along with more than 50 local children, will perform Anthony Williams’ interpretation of the quintessential Christmas ballet, which is set in contemporary Boston instead of 19th century Europe, injecting Tchaikovsky’s stodgy old work with some much needed livening-up via swing, hip-hop and tap — including a little Duke Ellington.  

Christmas Reflections
Dec. 16-18
Robsham Theatre
at Boston College
140 Comm. Ave., Chestnut Hill
$15, 617-552-4002
www.bc.edu
This is a mix of a Christmas-themed story, music and dance choreographed by Robert VerEecke, BC’s Jesuit artist-in-residence, with Irish step dances performed by the O’Dwyer School of Irish Dancing. VerEecke is known locally for his much-loved piece “A Dancer’s Christmas,” which he retired in 2008. Some of the pieces at this show originated in that work, while others are brand new.

‘The Nutcracker’
Nov. 25 to Dec. 31
Boston Opera House
539 Washington St.
$40-$169, 617-695-6955
www.bostonballet.org
The Boston Ballet’s annual performance of Tchaikovsky’s immortal ballet pretty much sells itself, but we should mention that this year is the last time you’ll get to see this particular version of the work — its costumes and sets will be retired afterward, and artistic director Mikko Nissinen is going to spruce up his choreography for next year.

February

Inbal Pinto and Avshalom
Pollack Dance Company
Feb. 3 & 4
Paramount Theatre
559 Washington St., Boston
$50-$60, 617-482-6661
www.celebrityseries.org
The dormant dance calendar of January is broken by this Israeli group, which will perform a piece called “Oyster” with weird, mime-faced dancers in tattered tuxedos, delightfully manic circus music, girls being flung around on harnesses and choreography that frequently seems to have originated in Monty Python’s Ministry of Silly Walks. Full of humor and dark weirdness, it’ll be a colorful treat for mid-winter’s gray coldness.

‘X Dance 2012’
Feb. 9-12
Green Theatre
10 Boylston Pl., sixth floor, Boston
$12, 617-824-8000
www.emerson.edu
This concert is a showcase for Emerson’s dance department, featuring works choreographed and performed entirely by Emerson students. The choreogra-phers are Tyler Catanella, Wynn Harrison, Ashley Maietta, Janet Mullen and Kameron Tarlow. Any of them might get famous, so you should catch them before they inevitably move to New York after graduation to make it big.

‘Simply Sublime’
Feb. 9-19
Boston Opera House
539 Washington St., Boston
$25-$132, 617-695-6955
www.bostonballet.org
The Boston Ballet performs a well-rounded evening of top-shelf dance, with the world premiere of Florence Cler’s “Les Sylphides,” a one-act ro-mantic ballet set to Chopin; Christopher Wheeldon’s “Polyphonia,” a work for four cou-ples set to Ligeti; and George Balanchine’s “Symphony in Three Movements,” a large ensemble work set to Stravinsky.

‘Circa’
Feb. 29 to March 4
Paramount Center
559 Washington St., Boston
$50-$60, 617-824-8400
www.artsemerson.org
This acrobatic troupe from Australia foregoes the use of props like trapeze, vaults or rings. There is a piece involving a couple ropes, but otherwise it’s just human bodies performing spectacular feats of circus wonderment. There’s definitely an artsy flavor to their routines, often making it close to contemporary dance. Call it interpretive circus!



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