Nine

Christmas Countdown : 9 Days

Nine ladies dancing, also known as the Nutcracker ballet. No Christmas season is complete without a viewing of the Nutcracker. It is one of my absolute favorite ballets. One of the best I've seen without a doubt was a performance in Stockholm by the Royal Swedish Ballet.

In Sweden the ballet is a bit different than it is in the US, because it is a combination of the traditional Nutcracker story and the popular children's book Petter and Lotta's Christmas. The Nutcracker is also replaced with a straw Christmas goat, which is not an odd thing at all in Sweden although those in the US might be scratching their heads. Petter and Lotta awake to find their straw goat has some to life and is dancing the night away with their housekeeper who is really the Sugar Plum Fairy. This charming take on the Nutcracker is geared much more towards children and features a sleepwalking dance with Petter and Lotta's three aunts, a dance of the candy canes, and the evil mice dancing in red pointe shoes. If you're ever in Stockholm at Christmas, it's really a must see performance.

For those of us back in the US for the holidays, the classic Nutcracker is just as spectacular. Enjoy a clip of Nina Kaptsova of the Bolshoi Ballet performing as the Sugar Plum Fairy in 2010.