C. Carvajal's Nutcracker

When: Thu., Dec. 24, 11 a.m., Sat., Dec. 26, 2 & 7:30 p.m. and Sun., Dec. 27, 2 p.m. 2009

Oakland Ballet's creativity will light up the stage during its well-loved Nutcracker, a local tradition since 1972. But the dancers have implemented plenty of inventiveness behind the scenes, too: Upended by their artistic director's sudden departure last April, they've partnered with Peninsula Ballet Theater to mount the fifteenth edition of choreographer Carlos Carvajal's holiday classic, and with the Oakland East Bay Symphony for live performance of the score. In the spirit of the season, tickets are 20 percent off when you buy them at the Paramount box office and bring a nonperishable-food donation for the Alameda County Community Food Bank. Sweet Dreams parties, with light refreshments and favorite characters, follow the Saturday and Sunday matinees ($10 extra). At the Paramount Theatre (225 Broadway, Oakland) Thursday, Dec. 24, at 11 a.m.; Saturday, Dec. 26, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 27, at 2 p.m., $11.25-$50. or

Claudia Bauer

Price: $11.25-$50

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