Gustafson Dance’s Rudolph will light up the Lobero Theatre on Saturday.

Gustafson Dance’s Rudolph will light up the Lobero Theatre on Saturday. (John Conroy photo)

The Gustafson Dance performance of their children’s ballet Rudolph has gained more than a toehold on our holiday calendar; it has established a veritable beachhead, working its way steadily into The Nutcracker territory.

This year there will be two performances, at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday, in the Lobero Theatre.

Rudolph is best described by the company who will perform it as “a children’s ballet performed by the students of Gustafson Dance, featuring dancers from the State Street Ballet Young Dancers, the apprentice company to State Street Ballet.

“The story begins with the birth of a young reindeer with a seemingly unfortunate nonconformity: a blinking red nose. Santa is not interested in Rudolph for his team of reindeer and the other reindeer tease him and shun him. Rudolph sets off on his own and discovers that there are many who do not fit in in the Land of Misfit Toys. The toys with certain defects dance for Rudolph and explain the need for him to plead their case to Santa.

“In this snowy adventure, Rudolph befriends an elf who wants to be a dancer, a miner who can’t find gold and eventually the Abominable Snowman. All ends well, as Santa and the other reindeer realize that those who are different have much to offer.”

Tickets to Rudolph are $12 for students and $20 for adults, and can be purchased from the Lobero box office at 33 E. Canon Perdido St. or 805.963.0761 (credit cards accepted), or click here to online.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer.