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Vanessa Baker, 13, is pictured as a jellyfish in the “Sea of Miracles” in the 2016 staging of “A Gift for Emma.” Denton City Contemporary Ballet presents the annual holiday fantasia in dance this weekend at Margo Jones Performance Hall on TWU’s campus.

The Festival Ballet of North Central Texas has closed its annual staging of The Nutcracker, but there’s still a wealth of holiday fare for local families to enjoy.

Denton Community Theatre closes its run of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever this weekend.

The Barbara Robinson play runs at 7:30 p.m. this Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. on Dec. 16 at the Campus Theatre, 214 W. Hickory St.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever finds a church community testing its professed values when the Herman children — Imogene, Claude, Ralph, Leroy, Ollie and Gladys — show up at the local church to find out about the snacks they’ve heard about. The Herdmans have something of a local record — they’ve been implicated in the case of a woodshed fire, blackmailed an adversary to get a charm bracelet and are rumored to have delivered a wallop to another party.

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Denton Community Theatre presents "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" by Barbara Robinson. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7-8 and Dec. 14-15, with matinee performances at 2 p.m. Dec. 9 & 16. Tickets cost $22 for adults, $18 for ages 62 and older, $15 for students with valid ID and $10 for ages 12 and younger. For reservations, call the box office at 940-382-1915 or visit the company's online ticket portal.

The rule-abiding church members don’t approve when Grace Bradley, who takes over for longtime Christmas pageant director Mrs. Armstrong, casts the Herdman brood in the pageant. But before Christmas Day arrives, everyone learns something about redemption.

Director Nancy Chumbley tweaked the production to make room for 40 players. It’s a play that charms religious and secular audiences with a story about grace, redemption and the discovery of the deep spiritual meaning of the nativity story.

Tickets cost $22 for adults, $18 for ages 62 and older, $15 for students with valid ID and $10 for ages 12 and younger. For reservations and more information, call 940-382-1915.

If you haven’t had your fill of dance, Denton City Contemporary Ballet stages its 20th annual holiday fantasia in dance, A Gift for Emma.

The holiday dance tradition borrows heavily from The Nutcracker. Instead of Clara falling asleep in the Stahlbaum mansion beneath the Christmas tree, a street urchin named Emma is blown into a dance studio for warmth by the powerful arctic wind and falls asleep near the Christmas tree.

Like Clara, Emma dances with toys and journeys through different worlds in her dream. She takes a trip to the Sea of Miracles, then visits the garden of dreams before she reaches the palace of the snow princess to win the gift of dance. Artistic director Lisa Racina-Torre gathers the skills of her faculty at Denton Dance Conservatory to tell a story using classical and contemporary ballet, tap and jazz, hip-hop and a sprinkling of acrobatics. Racina-Torre packs the stage with students from the ballet company and from Denton Dance Conservatory.

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Guests for this year’s show include Chris Koehl, a former Denton Dance Conservatory hip-hop faculty member originally from Garland. Koehl is a former finalist on the Fox TV series So You Think You Can Dance. Lea Zablocki, who has danced with Dallas Neo-Classical Ballet and Mejia Ballet International, will appear as Poseidon’s Sea Maiden, and Ruben Gerding, an alumnus of Texas Ballet Theatre, will dance the role of Poseidon. Zablocki and Gerding also perform the roles of the snow king and queen.

Performances are 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m Sunday at Margo Jones Performance Hall, located on the first floor of the Texas Woman’s University Music Building at Oakland Street and Pioneer Circle. Tickets cost $15 to $21.

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Dr. Charles L. Rives will conduct the Denton Bach Society concert on Oct. 14. The time and date are to be announced. A voice placement session and rehearsal for new and returning singers will be at the beginning of the first rehearsal at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 20, 2018 at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 703 N. Elm St.

The Denton Bach Society will have a Messiah sing-along at its upcoming concert at 4 p.m. Sunday at First Presbyterian Church, 1114 W. University Drive.

The audience is invited to join the choir for the famous Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s famous oratorio, as they did in 1994, 1996 and 1998.

Guest conductor Charles Rives returns to lead the choir and orchestra through the piece.

This year, the Denton Bach Choir performs with instrumentalists from the American Baroque Opera orchestra, under the direction of Denton resident and opera company co-founder Eric Smith.

Tickets cost $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and $10 for students. For reservations, visit www.dentonbach.com.

LUCINDA BREEDING can be reached at 940-566-6877 and via Twitter at @LBreedingDRC.

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