When: Sat., Dec. 22, 3 & 7 p.m. 2012
If you'd like to think a little bit outside the Nutcracker box this holiday season, head out I-485 to the Matthews Community Center, where Charlotte City Ballet Company presents its annual Holiday Enchantment. The show offers a different take on the Tchaikovsky classic than you'd find at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. Costumes are familiar enough to Nutcracker connoisseurs when we encounter the Sugar Plum Fairy, the waltzing flowers, Sugar Cane or Clara and her friends — and the title character makes a wooden cameo appearance. Otherwise, it's all female and all students (ages 10 to 18) from the company's school, led by an 11-member senior corps augmented by three apprentices, with frequent flashes of professional polish. Aspiring ballerinas and hopeful enrollees at the school founded by Claudia Folts and Beverly Barwick in 1985 probably won't mind the lack of scenery and live musicians, while their parents won't be appalled by the $8 advance ticket price. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.charlottecityballet.org or www.carolinatix.org.