BY ELIZABETH ZIMMER
George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker | The ur-flake in the upcoming blizzard of Nutcrackers is Balanchine’s gargantuan holiday spectacular for New York City Ballet, featuring 90 dancers, 62 musicians, and over a 100 students (in two casts) from the School of American Ballet. The familiar Tchaikovsky score, gorgeous costumes by Karinska, and sets by Rouben Ter-Arutunian enchant audiences from the youngest to their grandparents; the tree that grows from 12 feet tall to 41 never fails to elicit gasps. Nov. 29-Jan. 5, at various times, at the David H. Koch Theater (20 Lincoln Center Plaza). For tickets ($95-$300) and info, visit nycballet.com.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater | New dances by Donald Byrd (Greenwood, inspired by a 1921 race riot, in which whites attacked black residents and businesses in Tulsa, Oklahoma’s affluent Greenwood District); Darrell Grand Moultrie (Ounce of Faith, celebrating the influence of teachers on the young); and Jamar Roberts (Ode, which confronts the epidemic of gun violence). Also company premieres of dances by Aszure Barton, Camille A. Brown, and Merce Cunningham, and new productions of Judith Jamison’s Divining and Lar Lubovitch’s Fandango. The longest company season of any American modern dance troupe promises these and many other treats, including performances of the classic Revelations, on 27 of the 39 bills. To catch the new works en masse, go on Dec. 14, 20, 28, or Jan. 1. Performances run from Dec. 4-Jan. 5, at New York City Center (131 W. 55th St.). Tickets are $29-159, with $15 student tickets available at the box office, and group and quantity discounts. To order, and for more info, visit alvinailey.org or call 212-581-1212.
Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company | This lovely New Jersey troupe is too rarely seen here. Join its 30th anniversary celebration, CrossCurrent—a retrospective of Chen’s dances from the early Calligraphy II (with music by Joan La Barbara) to newer works like Truthbound, Bamboo Rap (Chinese hip-hop!), and Whirlwind, to a score by Glen Velez. Dec. 5-8 at New York Live Arts (219 W. 19th St.). For tickets ($15-$30), visit newyorklivearts.org or call 212-924-0077.
ZviDance | The Israeli choreographer, one of New York’s favorite ballet teachers, offers the world premiere of Maim (the Hebrew word for water). The dance aims to raise awareness of water issues related to global warming. Performed by an ensemble of eight, it has music by Scott Killian, and design by Joshua Higgason (media) and Mark London (lighting). Dec. 18-21, at New York Live Arts (219 W. 19th St.). For tickets ($25, $20 for students and seniors), visit newyorklivearts.org or call 212-924-0077. Artist info at zvidance.com.
Cunningham | Catch Alla Kovgan’s 3D film of the life and work of the great American choreographer Merce Cunningham, 10 years gone and now being celebrated in his centennial year. The open run of the 93-minute film, with five screenings daily, will be supplemented by live performances and discussion on Dec. 14 at Judson Memorial Church. It coincides with the publication of Merce Cunningham Redux, a re-release of an expanded version of James Klosty’s marvelous 1975 photo book, with 150 additional pages of pictures, many never seen before. It’s a huge, inspiring volume from powerhouse Books. Opening Dec. 13 at Film Forum (209 W. Houston St.). For tickets ($9-$15) and info, visit filmforum.org or call 212-727-8110. Additional info at cunninghammovie.com.
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