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San Francisco Ballet's Nutcracker

If you're more prone to appreciating charming scenes of glowing Christmas trees ascending to great heights or small children humming along with the symphony than the friend who told me, "I don't need ballet tickets to crack nuts," check out San Francisco Ballet's Nutcracker. (He would've been charmed too, he was just jealous he was missing out on the prancing sparkle ponies.) (Note: Clara's sleigh is towed by prancing sparkle ponies.) 

San Francisco Ballet applies their impressive technical chops to the classic scene of Christmas festivity in a recently re-vamped production set against the painted ladies of San Francisco and the inner glass sanctum of the Conservatory of Flowers. 

Party-goers waltz, rats swordfight, a Snow Queen whirls as buckets of snow fall, can-can dancers twirl pink ribbons, an Arabian belly dancer rises from a genie's lamp, Russian dancers do things the human body should not be capable of doing, children dressed as butterflies and caterpillars cavort - all to Tchaikovsky's iconic music. It's a glittering spectacle that will entrance even the most dedicated hipster. 

Through December 27. War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness. Tickets are $39-125 at 415-865-2000.