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From Russia, with toeshoes 

‘Great Russian Nutcracker’ returns to Robinson Center on Saturday.

MASHA: And her prince find peace.
  • MASHA: And her prince find peace.

Thanksgiving weekend means the annual return to Little Rock of the “Great Russian Nutcracker,” performed in traditional fashion by the Moscow Ballet and featuring local children in some roles, on Saturday, Nov. 25. Showtime is 2 p.m. at Robinson Center Music Hall.

Moscow Ballet, based in the United States at Pittsfield, Mass., will take its “Great Russian Nutcracker” to 70 cities during its 14th annual American holiday tour. With Valentin Fedorov’s sets and costumes, and larger than life puppets, the “Great Russian Nutcracker” is always a fun event for Little Rock audiences. The show in Act 2 features the “Land of Peace and Harmony” setting with an ethereal dove that leads Masha and her Enchanted Nutcracker Prince to a land where there is no war or suffering and all the creatures — highlighted by Federov’s costumes and set — live in harmony. Look for lions, peacocks, elephants and unicorns and the new Dancing Matrioshka to join the party, as the larger than life puppets offer their gifts of wisdom and strength to Masha. Anatoli Emelianov is the artistic director and choreographer and stars as the Enchanted Nutcracker Prince. A trio of award-winning Russian dancers alternate in the role of Masha.

Tickets, ranging from $20 to $63, can be purchased through all Ticketmaster outlets (Harvest Foods stores and the Celebrity Attractions office downtown, online at www.ticketmaster.com, charge-by-phone at 501-975-7575) or online at www.nutcracker.com.

Northwest Arkansas will welcome an entirely different Moscow troupe, the Moscow Classic Ballet, for its performance of “The Nutcracker” Nov. 30-Dec. 2 at Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville.

Showtimes are 7 p.m. Nov. 30, 8 p.m. Dec. 1 and 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Dec. 2. Tickets start at $28 for adults, with $15 children’s tickets available for the Thursday show and Saturday matinee performance.

Call 479-443-5600 or go online at www.waltonartscenter.org for tickets.

Joining the Moscow Classical Ballet on stage will be 44 local young performers in the opening party scene. The Moscow Classical Ballet remains one of the few Russian ballet companies still supported by the Russian government. The troupe has won more than 15 Gold Medals from international competitions and three prizes at the Paris Academy of Dance.

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