THE CREAM OF THE CROP: Texas Ballet Theater’s Nutcracker – which has undergone a major overhaul by artistic director Ben Stevenson – is getting raves. “The production, with gorgeous sets and costumes from the defunct Florida Ballet, is filled with spectacle; when the dancers aren’t soaring off the ground, they’re flying above the stage in various contraptions,” Mark Lowry writes on dfw.com. “Replacing adults in the role of soldiers and mice and giving the roles to children makes the ballet even more child-oriented—and better still because the toy soldiers are danced by boys from Texas Ballet Theater School,” Margaret Putnam writes on theaterjones.com. And Karen McDonough wraps it up on dallasnews.com by writing, “This updated production is thoroughly entertaining, polished and tops in the area.” Catch it at Bass Hall through Dec. 23.
AN OPPORTUNITY: With the blockbuster Chihuly exhibition, the Dallas Arboretum knows well the appeal of public art. And so it’s working with the City of Dallas Public Art Program to develop a piece for the grounds. Sound like something you could pull off? Details are on the OCA website.
AN INSTRUMENTAL RELATIONSHIP: If you’re a musician who sometimes gets stage fright, you might want to focus more on your instrument than the crowd. A new study by a team of Finnish researchers has found that players who feel, “so united with my instrument/voice that there is no difference between us,” are much more comfortable onstage than those who don’t have as close a relationship with their instrument. Maybe all of those guitar players who name their ax are on to something.