You know the season is in full swirl when there are three productions of the Nutcracker ballet, with Tchaikovsky's iconic score, in one weekend.
St. Petersburg Ballet Company at Palladium
This is one of the most endearing and enchanting productions, showcasing accomplished student dancers as well as the tiniest in the company, along with lush costumes and sets. Suzanne Pomerantzeff directs and is chief choreographer. Shows are 7 p.m. Friday; 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday; and 3 p.m. Sunday at the Palladium Theater, 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $10-$20. (727) 822-3590.
Tampa Bay Triple Threat Theatre at USF
The production includes professional soloists as well as performers from the Classical Ballet of Tampa, choreographed by Stanislav Ivanov. The Triple Threat Theatre is in residence at Mary Jo's Performing Arts Academy. Performances are 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday at University of South Florida Theater 1, 4202 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. Tickets start at $20. (813) 969-0240.
m Next Generation Ballet at Straz
This production pairs professional guest artists with up-and-coming dancers from the Straz Center's Next Generation Ballet company. It features Boston Ballet principal dancer Lia Cirio as Sugar Plum at all performances. Her brother, and Boston Ballet principal dancer, Jeffrey Cirio, is the Sugar Plum Cavalier at Saturday's shows, while American Ballet Theatre principal dancer James Whiteside dances that role on Sunday. They all perform along with a cast of nearly 175 dancers and gymnasts, choreographed by Next Generation Ballet artistic director Peter Stark. Shows are 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at Carol Morsani Hall at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $20.50. (813) 229-7827. strazcenter.org.