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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Coming Up: Nutcracker Under the Dome

Nutcracker Under the Dome kicks off its 3D light show inspired by the San Francisco Ballet on Thursday night, November 21st. If you go on opening night, they'll have a special appearance by the San Francisco Ballet dancers and Beach Blanket Babylon carolers. The Westfield San Francisco Centre is the host.

Each night, the new 3D light show, with a new format each year. it's inspired by the ballet's Nutcracker production, and includes performance footage in the show. Apparently the San Francisco Ballet was the first American company to perform the full Nutcracker, in 1944 (I didn't know that!) and it later started a tradition world-wide. I checked those facts on the scholarly Wikipedia, and it turns out that the story is accurate. The history is a little more complicated, and kind of interesting. Read it here.

The Nutcracker under the Dome show takes place in the center's 1908 glass dome, which is used as a screen and theater.

San Francisco Ballet trainees perform at 4:30, along with a special appearance by principal dancers Maria Kochetkova and Davit Karapetyan at 5:00, at the premiere of the light show.

In addition to the nightly light show, the mall will host a ballet pop-up shop, holiday Sugar Plum Fairy breakfasts with Santa, a Hanukkah celebration with the Bill Graham Menorah Project, and additional caroling by Beach Blanket Babylon (details below).

You can see Nutcracker Under the Dome nightly from November 21 through December 31. It runs every half hour from 5 p.m. until closing. Holiday hours vary. The show is six minutes long, and is on level four. No tickets needed - just show up. It's free.

If you're there earlier, you can watch Illuminique Under the Dome at noon. It's an animated story set in a 19th century toymaker's workshop. Read more about it here.

About those events mentioned above, here are some details:

SF Ballet Activities: I don't have the times, but shoppers can meet the dancers, take photos, get autographs and buy stuff - that's what the pop-up shop sells. At the pop-up shop, you can also get Nutcracker ballet tickets, music, DVDs and more stuff. It's open Thursdays through Sundays, November 21-December 29 from 5-9 p.m.

Sugar Plum Fairy Breakfasts with Santa: Breakfasts are December 7, 14 and 21 from 8-9 a.m. (ooh - early!). You need tickets. There will be a Sugar Plum Fairy appearance, private VIP showing of the light show, meet and greet with Santa, one commemorative photo per kid, breakfast from La Boulange du Dome, and a Nutcracker gift. Please consider bringing an unwrapped toy for South of Market Child Car, Inc. Tickets are $25/each and you can get them here.  It appears tickets are available (I checked).

Beach Blanket Babylon Carolers: Carolers begin on Friday, November 29 from 12-2 on level 4, under the dome, and continue Saturdays from November 30 through December 21 from 1-3. I assume they'll be doing songs from their holiday show.

Santa Photos with Kids/Pets: Santa will hold court November 23-December 24. Monday through Saturdays from 11-8, Sundays 11-6, and Christmas eve from 10-4. Bring your pets (4 legs, no fish) for photos on December 5, 12 and 19 from 5-8.

Hanukkah: It's early this year! Join them for the Bill Graham Menorah Project lighting on Wednesday, December 4 at 6 p.m. For those keeping track, this is the last night of Hanukkah. The lighting will be on level 4, under the dome, with Rabbi Langer of Chabad of Pacific Heights. They'll have treats, crafts, dreidels, and music. And it's free.

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