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Peach-flavored Nutcracker 

Ballethnic revives Urban fairy tale

Among the armies of Ebenezer Scrooges and Sugar Plum Fairies that invariably invade local stages this time of year, one holiday show comes with a unique Atlanta flavor. For the past 11 years, Ballethnic Dance Company has mounted Urban Nutcracker, a cultural twist on the classic Christmas story. The perennial favorite returns this weekend to the Robert Ferst Center for the Arts.

This take on the oft-interpreted fairy tale transports heroine Sarah not to the Land of Sweets but instead to Sweet Auburn Avenue in the 1940s, where she teams up with Brown Sugar (the Sugar Plum Fairy) and Chocolatier (aka, Cavalier).

Choreographed by Ballethnic co-founder Waverly Lucas II, the show also sheds its classical ballet roots, bringing tap, African and modern dance into the mix. The show features more than 80 dancers, including 70 children. Fleshing out its distinctly Atlanta slant, Urban Nutcracker also brings a handful of local notables to the stage, including East Point Mayor Patsy Jo Hilliard playing -- who else? -- the mayor.

Ballethnic, the city's oldest and only African-American ballet company, mounts Urban Nutcracker every year the weekend before Thanksgiving for an early kick-off for the holiday season.

Urban Nutcracker runs Nov. 15-18 at Georgia Tech's Robert Ferst Center for the Arts, 349 Ferst Drive. 7:30 p.m. Thurs., 8 p.m. Fri. and Sat., 2 p.m. Sat. and Sun. $18 -$25. 404-762-1416.

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