Smuin Christmas Ballet

When: Fri., Nov. 27, 8 p.m. and Sat., Nov. 28, 2 & 8 p.m. 2009

That sound you hear in the distance is the pitter-pat of little toy-soldier feet, marching toward this year’s Nutcracker season in tried-and-true formation. But what if snowflakes and sugar plums aren’t exactly your thing? Then try the Smuin Ballet’s Christmas Ballet for a festive change of pace. The company’s fifteenth annual holiday show promises to be sophisticated and sweet in equal measure; previous years have included everything from a jaunty “Jingle Bell Mambo” to a hula-themed “Christmas Island” to lyrical dances to Mozart, Handel, and J.S. Bach. For all its cheerful color and spirited fun, the show calls on the dancers’ mastery of both classical and modern technique, a mix that’s made Smuin a Bay Area treasure and one of the most original and entertaining companies anywhere. At the Lesher Center for the Arts (1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek) on Friday, Nov. 27, at 8 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 28, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., $41-$56.

Claudia Bauer

Price: $41-$56

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