The Nutcracker tells the story of an ordinary young girl who receives a magical nutcracker that's responsible for taking her on a journey through some pretty impressive environments. Take for example, the Land of Snow. It might be beautiful, but it also sounds blisteringly cold. The Land of Sweets on the other hand seems ... well ... sweet, sugar highs and all. But that's nothing compared to the characters — a sugar plum fairy, a mouse king, a snow queen, toy soldiers, dolls and, last but not least, a nutcracker prince — who sets the true scene. Today North Carolina Dance Theatre will present a performance its annual Nutcracker production — as choreographed by artistic director Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux. Charlotte Symphony provides the music. $25-$79. Dec. 12, 2 p.m.; Dec. 17, 7 p.m.; Dec. 18-19, 2 p.m. & 7 p.m. Belk Theater, 130 N. Tryon St. 704-372-1000. www.blumenthalcenter.org.