'Nutcracker' and beyond - Page 2

Dates to mark on your holiday dance season calendar

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Graham Lustig's acclaimed Nutcracker for Oakland Ballet Company is one of the highlights of this month's dance lineup

Contact improvisation has become a valued tool for choreographers, but it's also a glorious performance art that redefines the concept of being "in the moment." One of its originators, the masterful Nancy Stark Smith (Dec. 18; Eighth Street Studios, Berk.; $10–$20) is in town to connect with local and guest practitioners.

The connection between the Odette and Odile characters has puzzled Swan Lake lovers forever; the roles used to be danced by two different performers. SF Ballet's recent production hinted at one interpretation. For another take, you might want to go to the movies and see Natalie Portman in Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan (now playing; Bay Area theaters; prices vary).

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