As their eyes lock in an erotic stare-down, Joe Celej's fingers grip Marlana Walsh's delicate hands, their bodies mirroring each other as their muscles tense and release in a throbbing rhythm. It's the sign of a good contemporary dance performance: The human form becomes the central character. Here, the slow curve of a woman's neck and the subtle, sheer movement of her body line become a show stealer. Celej, Walsh and the Houston Metropolitan Dance Company will showcase this artistic foreplay at their Spring 2004 Concert. Ripe with an eclectic, contemporary mix of musical dance numbers, the performance should satisfy both highbrow dance enthusiasts and casual fans. "There's a piece called Slip of the Tongue that I think is going to be especially fun to watch," says Celej. "It's a lovers' quarrel -- I think everyone's gone through that kind of moment."
Those moments are what make Met Dance's performances shine, says Celej. "I'd say we definitely bring a lot of passion to the stage, which I think is lacking a lot in local dance today." And so far, local dance fans seem to agree. "I've been in a lot of pieces where my motivation was very nonsexual," he says, "but people have come up to me afterward and told me that that was the most sensual experience they'd ever seen." 8 p.m. Saturday, April 24. Cullen Theater, 550 Prairie, 713-522-6375. $18 to $35. -- Steven Devadanam
A Little Off the Top
HGO gives Barber a new look
Raise your hand if you've ever belted out the Figaro, Figaro, Figaro, Feee-gah-rooh lines from The Barber of Sevillewhile in the shower. Keep it raised if you remember the Bugs Bunny take on the opera, with Bugs as the barber, massaging Elmer's scalp with his ears and giving poor Fudd a pedicure with garden shears. And wave it around if you recall the setting of this Gioacchino Rossini classic. Right answer, if you said Seville, circa early '60s -- at least in the case of the current HGO production. The 19th-century comedy has been updated to a dandy Roman Holiday-esque romp. In this version, the swanky Count Almaviva pops on stage in a 1964 Buick Electra convertible and the barber Figaro jets around on a Vespa scooter. That wascally Bugs only wishes he had it this good. 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 23. Through May 15. Brown Theater at Wortham Center, 500 Texas. For a full schedule, call 713-228-6737 or visit www.houstongrandopera.org. $15 to $30. -- Steven Devadanam
Few would deny that the ladies of the Eroica Trio look damn fine in their sheer evening gowns, and some critics have gone so far as to give them the Anna Kournikova treatment. But don't judge so quickly by appearances, 'cause there's a subtle difference between these classical babes and the Russian tennis hottie: Pianist Erika Nickrenz, violinist Adela Pena and cellist Sara Sant'Ambrogio are actually proficient at their chosen crafts. The trio will perform the music of Beethoven, Shostakovich and Dvorak at 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 27. Stude Concert Hall, Rice University campus, entrance no. 8 (off University Boulevard). For information, call 713-348-5400 or visit www.eroicatrio.com. $30 to $51.- Greg Barr
Sinister voices inside your head are no laughing matter (they're hilarious!), especially in the case of good Dr. Jekyll (jerk-off). TUTS's Jekyll & Hyde examines the schizophrenia in all of us, as Jekyll morphs between good-natured physician (puss) and murderous beast (badass). Catch it (go screw yourself) at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 22. Through May 9. Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby. For a full schedule, call 713-558-8887 or visit www.tuts.com. $25 to $68. -- Steven Devadanam