Supplement your visit to the Land of the Sweets with these editor-approved, (mostly) non-Nutcracker shows onstage this month.
Russell Lepley in costume for Ursula
Kate Sweeney, Courtesy FluxFlow Dance Project
COLUMBUS, OH FluxFlow Dance Project's Ursula was inspired by a cautionary tale: a Joanna Newsom song about a circus bear and her monkey companion. Performed to an original soundscape by choreographer and FluxFlow co-founder Russell Lepley, the hourlong, multimedia dance-theater work is a fable of deception, betrayal and the power dynamics of freedom, set within the world of a fictional circus. Dec. 5–8. fluxflowdanceproject.org. —Steve Sucato
A Legacy Lingers
CHICAGO What began as a collaboration between Robyn Mineko Williams and her mentor has become a tribute. Echo Mine is an homage to the late Claire Bataille, who began work on the piece before she passed away at the end of 2018. Hubbard Street Dance Chicago alum Meredith Dincolo and current member Jacqueline Burnett join Williams onstage for this exploration of the power of artistic lineage and the nature of legacy. It makes its debut as a special one-night-only performance at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance. Dec. 7. harristheaterchicago.org. —Courtney Escoyne
'Tis the Season
Three shows getting us in the holiday spirit, sans Sugar Plum:
'Twas the Night Before...
A production rendering of 'Twas the Night Before...
Courtesy Madison Square Garden Company
CHICAGO AND NEW YORK CITY Cirque du Soleil has created nearly 50 shows, but the juggernaut entertainment empire has never had a holiday-themed production—until now. It's teamed with the Madison Square Garden Company (the folks behind the Rockettes) to create 'Twas the Night Before..., which promises to tell the story of what really happened before Santa dropped in. Opens in Chicago Nov. 29–Dec. 8 before moving to New York City Dec. 12–29. cirquedusoleil.com. —CE
The Snow Queen
Scottish Ballet in rehearsal for The Snow Queen
Rimbaud Patron, Courtesy Scottish Ballet
EDINBURGH The Hans Christian Andersen tale that inspired Frozen forms the basis for Scottish Ballet's new full-length. With choreography by Christopher Hampson and designs by Lez Brotherston, The Snow Queen weaves together a tale of an icy monarch, mirrors that reflect only the bad in the world, and the redemptive warmth of friendship and love. The company closes its 50th-anniversary season with the opening run, Dec. 7–29, in Edinburgh, before touring to Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness and Newcastle in the new year. scottishballet.co.uk. —CE
Dorrance Dance's Josette Wiggan
Matthew Murphy, Courtesy Richard Kornberg & Associates
NEW YORK CITY Watching Dorrance Dance is always a joyous occasion. But the premiere of Michelle Dorrance's latest work, set to Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn's groovy interpretation of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite, promises to make the company's three-week residency at New York City's Joyce Theater its most festive yet. Energy should remain high with the New York premiere of the satirical All Good Things Come to an End rounding out the program. Dec. 15–Jan. 5. joyce.org. —CE