CONTINENTAL BALLET COMPANY

Opening Saturday: Let the “Nutcracker” season begin! Continental Ballet Company is first up with its 26-year-old take on the classic holiday tradition dating back to the 19th century. Led by artistic director Riet Velthuisen, the production features all the familiar elements with one exception — the battle between the mice and the Nutcracker Prince’s army is exchanged for something a bit friendlier as a nod to a violence-free world. Karen Siedsma and Riley Thomas Weber will make their debuts in the central roles of Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier. (7:30 p.m. Sat. & Dec. 7, 3 p.m. Sun. & Dec. 8, $13-$25, Bloomington Theatre and Art Center, 1800 W. Old Shakopee Rd., Bloomington, 952-563-8562 or www.continentalballet.com.)

CAROLINE PALMER