For ballet lovers the nation's oldest professional company is reason alone to visit the Bay Area. SFB's performances, for the past three decades under direction of Helgi Tomasson, have won critical raves. The primary season runs from February through May. The repertoire includes full-length ballets such as Don Quixote and Sleeping Beauty; the December presentation of The Nutcracker is truly spectacular. The company also performs bold new dances from star choreographers such as William Forsythe and Mark Morris, alongside modern classics by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. Tickets are available at the War Memorial Opera House.