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'Loyce Houlton's Nutcracker' Image courtesy event organizers

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Loyce Houlton's Nutcracker Fantasy

Dec. 13
7:30 p.m.
Daily from Dec. 14-15
3 p.m.
Dec. 20
7:30 p.m.
Daily from Dec. 21-22
3 p.m.
Dec. 23
1 p.m.
$30-$75
Dance, Family Events, Holiday

As buoyant and hectic as a child’s holiday dream, this Minnesota Dance Theatre’s Nutcracker surges with nonstop dancing. Even the sets move, with shifting scrims, projections, and set pieces that evoke the transformative journey of young Marie Silberhaus. The story begins at a Christmas party in 19th-century Germany, and unfolds through the eyes of Marie as her godfather, Drosselmeyer, takes her on an extraordinary adventure to the Land of Snow and the Kingdom of the Sugar Plum Fairy. From the idiosyncratic maneuvers of Drosselmeyer’s marvelous toys—marionettes, wooden soldiers, and assorted dolls—to the battle scene where the intrepid Nutcracker defeats the wicked Rat Queen and her minions, this production captures the holiday spirit with just enough scary parts to keep the kids wide-eyed and alert. A blizzard of snowflakes sweeps Marie to a magic kingdom where dancers from many lands show their stuff and the Sugar Plum Fairy spins Marie out of her nightmare and into the land of happily ever after. All this as a 44-piece orchestra plays Tchaikovsky’s iconic score, led by conductor Philip Brunelle.