There are two founding American Nutcrackers. One of them, by George Balanchine, was premiered in 1954 at the City Center in New York City. The other, by Willam Christensen, was premiered 10 years earlier in 1944, in San Francisco. Balanchine—and the ballerina Alexandra Danilova—had a hand in that one, too. In Christensen’s living room, they showed him the steps they remembered from their early days at the Mariinsky in Saint Petersburg. But it was Christensen’s idea to do The Nutcracker, it was his production (with his steps), and it set everything in motion. Here’s his 1944 Nutcracker on the Ballet West stage—$3 million dollars later—a new production of Christensen’s original choreography. Holiday history! —L.J.