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San Diego Ballet unlocks The Nutcracker's mystique

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Attend The Nutcracker with the San Diego Ballet at the Pikes Peak Center, and you'll get a traditional version of the most widely performed ballet in the world. Some of you are cheering, "I can't wait! It's Nutcracker time!" For those of you who fall into the "Ugh men in tights. I just don't get it" camp, drop by the ballet's Web site before you completely write this one off.

Javier Velasco, the ballet's artistic director, began journaling on his blog (sandiegoballet.org) three weeks ago, and has focused almost entirely on describing elements of Tchaikovsky's magical tale of Clara, the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Nutcracker Prince. Topics range from defining the very "ballet" Pas de Deux (dance for two, generally one man and one woman) to sharing the very "today" tidbit that the San Diego Ballet's Cavalier (see the blog for more on this one), Askar Alimbetov, is from Kazakhstan.

As Velasco writes, "Not the fake Borat Kazakhstan where people sound as if they are from some fake Eastern European country. But the real Kazakhstan, which is not an Eastern European country at all, but rather a Central Asian country ... "

Joined by the Colorado Springs Philharmonic and the Colorado Springs Children's Chorale, 150 of our region's finest young dancers will perform side-by-side with the professionals from San Diego, learning every step of the way. If you follow their lead and visit Velasco's blog before heading to the show, you won't have to pretend you understand The Nutcracker you really will.

The Nutcracker

Pikes Peak Center, 190 S. Cascade Ave.

Friday, Nov. 24, 8 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 25, 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 26, 2:30 p.m.

Tickets: $24-$40; call 520-SHOW (7469) or visit ticketswest.com.

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