While the delicate ballerina typically outshines her male counterpart on stage and in the public mind, those who create her movements are, for the most part, men. "In many respects, ballet choreography can be a very male-dominated field," says Houston Ballet artistic director Stanton Welch. That's why Houston Ballet has tapped three young female dancemakers to usher in its 35th-anniversary season with Women@Art, a three-part program featuring the Houston debut of Lila York's Celts and world-premiere pieces from Julia Adam and Natalie Weir. A common gender doesn't mean common themes. Weir's work, The Host, deals with the psychological games people play at social gatherings -- in this case, a dinner party. York's Celts is a dance interpretation of Celtic culture from its ancient roots to modern times. And Julia Adam's The Accidental tells the story of a bird that's carried far from its home.
"We all have something to say and a talent to express, and I don't think gender should be an issue," says Weir. Appropriately, it seems the three are letting the dance have the last word. Opens 7:30 p.m. Thursday, September 9, and runs through September 19. Brown Theater at Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas. For showtimes and ticket information, call 713-227-ARTS or visit www.houstonballet.org. $17. -- Julia Ramey
Grannies Gone Wild
Elderly crime runs amok in 70, Girls, 70
A writer in search of an easy laugh can always have old people engage in a "young" activity like swearing, screwing or getting high. When that doesn't work, sending them on a potentially violent crime spree will do the trick. In the musical comedy 70, Girls, 70, a marauding gang of geriatric stickup ladies knocks over fur salons in order to help their less fortunate brothers and sisters (damn those Medicare cuts). The original 1971 production from writing team John Kander and Fred Ebbs (Chicago, Cabaret) closed after only 35 performances, owing to stiff Broadway competition that year. Too bad it couldn't have debuted the same year as bombs like The Capeman and Seussical. Opens at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, September 9, and runs through Sunday, September 12. Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby. For information, call 713-315-2525 or visit www.uniquelyhouston.org. $25 to $50. -- Bob Ruggiero
This weekend's "Swamp Stomp," hosted by the Houston Area Traditional Dance Society, will have you in the arms of dozens of people -- while contra dancing, that is. The 17th-century style is movement en masse: A "caller" announces which dance the group will perform, live music kicks up, and then it's time to shake it like they did in the pre-"Bootylicious" era. Experienced dancers will be on hand to demonstrate the simple steps, which, according to HATDS member Michael Head, can be combined to create more than 10,000 dances. 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, September 11. Central Presbyterian Church's Fellowship Hall, 3788 Richmond. For information and full schedule, call 713-988-9698 or visit www.hatds.org. $10 to $20. -- Julia Ramey
After surviving show cancellations, fistfights and being summarily fired by their haughty leader Travis Meeks, the remaining guys from the alt-rock band Days of the New decided to forgo the vengeful, tell-all Behind the Music route and keep playing despite the shame. They've reshuffled and are now back as Tantric, while the egoistic Meeks has been out of sight. 8 p.m. Thursday, September 9. The Engine Room, 1515 Pease. For information, call 713-629-3700 or visit www.ticketmaster.com. $13. -- Steven Devadanam