In July, one of Australia's most talented dancers, Stanton Welch, became Houston Ballet's new artistic director. When he left the land down under for the Lone Star State, part of his charge was to create a ballet to honor his new home. That much-anticipated tribute opens this week. Welch, known for his hard-hitting choreography and ability to tell a story, has planned a three-part work that delves into the many moods of our fair state. "Big Sky," "Cline Time" and "Pecos" make up the evening-length Tales of Texas, set to music by Aaron Copland, Patsy Cline and rising young composer Matthew Pierce.
The dancers have been practicing the two-step as much as their tour jetés, so balletomanes and rodeogoers alike should feel right at home. All the cowboy hats and chaps will make the Wortham Theater feel a lot like Reliant Stadium -- there will even be live Texas-themed music in the foyer before each show.
See Tales of Texas at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 11, Saturday, March 13, Friday, March 19, and Saturday, March 20; and 2 p.m. Sundays, March 14 and 21. 501 Texas. For information, call 713-227-ARTS or visit www.houstonballet.org. $11.50 to $115.50. -- Christie Taylor
Whistle while you shop at this weekend's tardeada
If you think you'll just head to Traders Village this Sunday, pay your $2 parking fee and kill an afternoon shopping for belt buckles, antiques, country crafts, junk and assorted stuff while suckin' on corn dogs and Budweiser, you thought wrong. Some of Houston's most popular Latino musicians promise to get you dancing while you browse for the perfect $10 painting. The tardeada (meaning "afternoon party") features Vudu Cafe, Latin pop performer Ramon Torres, Max Cat and flamenco jazz artists Garcia y Reyna. Also on the bill is Mango Punch, which recently had the honor of being the only Houston-based band to play the Super Bowl's pregame show. If these bands can't put you in the mood to buy a neon beer sign, no one can. Noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 14. 7979 North Eldridge. For information, call 281-890-5500. Free. -- Troy Schulze
The family in Theater LaB Houston's production of Cooking with Elvis is upping the ante on dysfunction. In this highly adult British comedy, food-obsessed daughter Jill and sex-mad Mam share the affections of Stewart, a dope from the local cake factory, right under poor Dad's nose. But wheelchair-bound Dad, a former Elvis impersonator, has his own secrets. The show's musical numbers occur only in his imagination (as well as onstage, for the audience's enjoyment). Artistic director Jerry LaBita warns audiences to leave Grandma at home: "It has [chuckle] strong heterosexual content." 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 17, and Fridays and Saturdays through April 10; 6:30 p.m. Sundays, March 21 and 28, and April 4. 1706 Alamo. For information, call 713-868-7516 or visit www.theaterlabhouston.com. $23 to $25. -- Lisa Simon
Did Splash Teach Us Nothing?
Never fall in love with a woman who's under a magic spell. You'll wind up having to choose between her and everything you've ever known, as American tourist Tommy Albright discovers when he visits a spellbound Scottish town in Theatre Under the Stars' production of Brigadoon. Thursday, March 11, through March 28. 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays; 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturdays; 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sundays. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. For information, call 713-558-3882 or visit www.tuts.com. $25 to $68. -- Lisa Simon