PNB principal Carla Körbes dances the role of Clara in Nutcracker. Photo courtesy Angela Sterling.

DANCE As The New York Times’s veteran curmudgeon…err, dance critic Alastair Macaulay tours the country reviewing Nutcrackers, he paused in Seattle to pour vats of love onto PNB principal Carla Korbes (a former NYC Ballet soloist) for her turn as Clara. ‘Saturday evening in Seattle brought the greatest event of all the Nutcracker performances I’ve seen so far,’ he wrote on Nov. 30. ‘While [Carla Korbes’s] slender figure and exquisite stage manners are ravishing, what’s spellbinding is the way she finds time for everything. Phrase endings are serene; she jumps impulsively into huge overhead lifts (partnered by Batkhurel Bold); her mood is never monochrome; and she draws the audience into her world.’ Considering what he said last week about a NYC Ballet dancer looking like she’d eaten one sugar plum too many, that’s some high praise. (PNB’s Kent Stowell/Maurice Sendak Nutcracker runs through Dec 27.)

BOOKS The Christian Science Monitor named Seattle novelist Brenda Peterson’s new memoir I Want to Be Left Behind — about reconciling her Southern Baptist upbringing with her proudly secular adopted city — one of the best books of 2010.

MUSIC The Seattle Times reported several bands with Northwest ties received 2010 Grammy nominations last week, including Alice in Chains and Soundgarden for best hard-rock performance, Pearl Jam’s Backspacer for best rock album, and Band of Horses’ Infinite Arms for best alternative music album. Get the complete list here.

FILM And with a little over a month until the Sundance Film Festival, we make note of the local directors who made the cut:

Megan Griffiths, a Seattle-based writer/director who’s worked on films like Humpday and The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle, will debut her second feature film, The Off Hours. Fun fact: It’s written, produced, and directed entirely by women.

Calvin Reeder has already made a name for himself at Sundance with his twisted short films; he’ll debut feature-length horror flick The Oregonian. Fun fact: The people over at are getting really excited about this movie.

—What kind of hell breaks loose after a priest drops his Bible in a rest-stop toilet? Writer/director Todd Rohal screens Catechism Cataclysm, which was shot around Seattle and central Washington. Fun fact: Megan Griffiths (above) is a co-producer.

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