Pecan nuts, cashew nuts, Brazil nut nuts ... yes, every budding ballerina's favorite kernel colonel can crack them all and rat skulls in the Atlanta Ballet's NUTCRACKER. Opening Dec. 9, the ballet's deadly dancing Nutcracker will defeat the Rat King with the help of young Maria and her ninja slippers. Mission accomplished, all the non-rodents honor the brave warriors at the Dew Drop Fairy's ball with exuberant pigs, Russian dolls and other magic dancing things. $8-$76. Dates and times vary, see website for details. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. 404-817-8700. www.atlantaballet.com.