Understated excellence from José Mateo Ballet

The Dream Fairies get busy.

Though it’s a silver celebration for the José Mateo Ballet Theatre, as the troupe celebrates 25 years of “The Nutcracker,” you’d hardly know it by looking at the environment where the piece is being performed.

Set in its unique home in Harvard Square’s Sanctuary Theatre, simple sets strip away the pomp and circumstance from the show, leaving the audience to enjoy the heart of the show — the choreography.

Snow Queen (Emma Ward) floats across the floor with grace and strong technique as she is paired with not one, but four Snow Princes. At times, the small stage seems overcrowded for such a big theatrical scene, but it works.

Without a doubt, the stars of the night are the youngest dancers, led by Cecilia Zevallos. Not only are they great dancers, they’re great actors. With an audience capped at 250, there is no room for mistakes. Party children are quick-thinking on their feet, little mice give their best “death” and the Polichinelles seem to really enjoy the adrenaline of being onstage.

Who should see it?

This is a perfect holiday date night. Impress the ballet lover in your life in this intimate up-close setting (without breaking the bank).

Multiple venues

Enjoy the show in Harvard Square this week or next week at Dorchester’s Strand Theatre.

If you go


José Mateo Ballet Theatre presents ‘The Nutcracker’

Through Dec. 16

The Sanctuary Theatre

400 Harvard St., Harvard Square, Cambridge

$15-$50, 617-354-7467



Dec. 22-24

The Strand Theatre

543 Columbia Road


$15-$50, 617-354-7467  



Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.


Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.


OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…


Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.


Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."


'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…


Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.


Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.


Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.


Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.


VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.


#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.


Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.


Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.