Four shows ya gotta see this December

The Shows Ya Gotta see is a monthly series highlighting "must-see" performances curated by See Chicago Dance critics.

How about something spontaneous, fanciful and fun?

Ya gotta book a Holiday Dance Carol before Dec. 19

Choreographer Mariah Eastman reboots last year’s COVID-safe, two-minute holiday dance gram to the song “Let it Snow” made for Chicagoans’ porches—the dance version of wassailing—by going door to door in three different neighborhoods. You can email Eastman if you’re from Albany Park, Lakeview or the South Loop/Chinatown, to ensure your door gets a knock. What’s not to love?! Dec. 3-5, 10-12 and 17-19 in various locations. Email or visit the organization page below.


Want to fill your heart with holiday cheer?

Ya gotta see “The Nutcracker!” 

Make time for some magic this season. Multiple versions of the classic holiday ballet “The Nutcracker” are running in the Chicago-area this month. Whether set in the Victorian era, at the 1893 World’s Fair, or with an art deco twist, these productions are sure to brighten up your December.  A&A Ballet, Dec. 4 and Ballet Chicago, Dec.10-19 at Athenaeum Theatre; The Joffrey Ballet, Dec. 4-26 at Lyric Opera House; Hyde Park School of Dance, Dec. 10-12 at University of Chicago; Ruth Page Civic Ballet, Dec. 11-12 at Northeastern Illinois University. Suburban options include Ballet Legere, Dec. 4-5 in River Forest; Salt Creek Ballet, Dec. 11-12 in Skokie and Dec. 18-19 in Glen Ellyn; School of Ballet 5:8, Dec. 17-19 in New Lenox. Check our calendar for details and ticket prices or click the organization pages below.


Looking for something visionary, transcendent and exuberant?

Ya gotta see Ragamala Dance Company on Dec. 2

South Indian American mother-daughter creative team Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy artfully weave together the dance language of Bharatanatyam with Willy Cessa’s scenic and lighting designs to infuse the Harris Theater with the soul of Varanasi, India. “Fires of Varanasi: Dance of the Eternal Pilgrim” brings together the secular and the sacred with an imaginative flare, thoughtfully expanding, as they call it, the “birth-death-rebirth continuum in Hindu thought to honor immigrant experiences of life and death in the diaspora.” Come with an open heart and open hands to receive the palpable expressiveness, vital physicality and powerful storytelling of Ragamala Dance Company. Dec. 2 at Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph. Tickets are $35-$140 and are available on the organization page below.


In the mood for something dynamic, passionate and current?

Ya gotta see the Co-MISSION Work-in-Progress showing on Dec. 17

What could be better than witnessing performances while they are still evolving? Join the Chicago dance community for works in the works by Links Hall’s recent cohort of resident artists: Keisha Janae/Eternal Resolve, Mario LaMothe, Helen Lee and Cat Mahari. The split bill performances will reflect the research and development of new and/or existing works each artist has dedicated their Co-MISSION Residency to. Don’t miss this opportunity to get to know them! Dec. 17 at Links Hall, 3111 N. Western Ave. Tickets are $10 and are available on the organization page below.


Contributors to this month’s Shows Ya Gotta See: Sophie Allen, Vicki Crain and Lauren Warnecke