Holiday Arts Guide: 4 shows where you can go nuts for dance

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      Small Stage: Winter's Dance #onrobson

      (At 1151 Robson Street, every 15 minutes, on December 1 and 2)

      Dancer Caitlin Griffin becomes the ethereal Snow Queen amid an artful winter wonderland as part of this streetside art installation projected over the thoroughfare. The show includes a scavenger hunt and hot cocoa along the way.

      Mixed Nuts

      (At the Vancouver Playhouse from December 8 to 10)

      Arts Umbrella Dance Company’s annual show is a favourite for good reason: not only does it feature fun, new twists on excerpts from The Nutcracker, but it spotlights new pieces choreographed by Ballet BC and Kidd Pivot members. And true to the title, expect a surprise combination of styles, from hip-hop to ballroom to ballet.

      Goh Ballet's The Nutcracker

      (At the Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts from December 14 to 19)

      Set like a multiproscenium storybook, this lushly staged and costumed crowd-pleaser is a hit with families, complete with a real magician and gymnasts who come tumbling out of Mère Gignogne’s skirts. Tots abound as mice, lambs, and toy soldiers; the Vancouver Opera Orchestra always performs with finesse; and the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Jerome Tisserand and Elizabeth Murphy star as the Cavalier Prince and the Sugarplum Fairy.

      Alberta Ballet's The Nutcracker

      (At the Queen Elizabeth Theatre from December 28 to 30)

      Think Cossack soldiers and sets as gilded as a Fabergé egg: choreographer Edmund Stipe’s rendition of the classic recasts the ballet in atmospheric Czarist Russia. Another draw: Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky’s famous score is played live by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.