Essential New York: Dance

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  • Photograph: Susana Millman

    Mark Morris Dance Group's The Hard Nut

  • Photograph: Bill Cooper

    Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake

  • New York City Ballet's The Nutcracker

Photograph: Susana Millman

Mark Morris Dance Group's The Hard Nut


Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake
Director-choreographer Matthew Bourne's beloved rendition of Swan Lake—featuring a flock of male swans and set to Tchaikovsky's score—has returned to New York. Richard Winsor and Jonathan Ollivier alternate as the Swan; Dominic North and Simon Williams share the part of the Prince. New York City Center, 131 W 55th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves (212-581-1212, nycitycenter.org/events). Through Sun 7; $25--$110.

New York City Ballet's The Nutcracker
New York City Ballet returns to the land of the sweets with its sumptuous production of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker, featuring costumes by Karinska and scenery by Rouben Ter-Arutunian. The ballet, from 1954, boasts a one-ton Christmas tree, a snowstorm and one million watts of lighting. David H. Koch Theater (at Lincoln Center), 20 Lincoln Center Plaza at 63rd St (212-721-6500, nycballet.com). Nov 26--Jan 2; $20--$140.

American Ballet Theatre's The Nutcracker
American Ballet Theatre presents the anticipated world premiere of Alexei Ratmansky's The Nutcracker—not much is known other than the leads. Gillian Murphy and David Hallberg star beginning on November 23. BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, 30 Lafayette Ave between Ashland Pl and St. Felix St, Fort Greene, Brooklyn (718-636-4100; abt.org, bam.org). Dec 22--Jan 2; $15--$135.

Mark Morris Dance Group's The Hard Nut
The Brooklyn Academy of Music brings a beloved classic back to the stage in honor of the Mark Morris Dance Group's 30th anniversary: The Hard Nut. Inspired by the E.T.A. Hoffmann story , the work of artist Charles Burns and, of course, Tchaikovsky's luminous score, Morris has created a wonderful retro-modern take on the classical-ballet version—every bit as luminous and just as musical. It's funny and gorgeous. BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, 30 Lafayette Ave between Ashland Pl and St. Felix St, Fort Greene, Brooklyn ( 718-636-4100, bam.org). Dec 10--19; $25--$70.

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