Deborah Hay has been called "Texas's grande dame of modern dance," an apt title for someone who's been shocking the modern dance community (not an easy crowd to surprise) since the 1960s. This weekend, Hay's innovation is on display at DiverseWorks. Solo Adaptations, the offspring of her award-winning The Match, offers a set of carefully constructed solos performed by highly trained dancers. Ros Warby, Chrysa Parkinson, Wally Cardona and Mark Lorimer participate in "meditation-like exercises" that explore the collaboration among the dancer, the choreographer and movement itself. Flashiness, grandiosity and even music are stripped away, so the audience can glimpse the person inside the performer -- a difficult task in an age of huge concert halls and overwhelming orchestras.
Since her beginnings with the experimental Judson Dance Theater, Hay has choreographed and performed in an assortment of prominent experimental pieces. Awards, books and collaborations, including a recent one with Mikhail Baryshnikov, pepper her career. Tune in to Hay's Solo Adaptations at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, January 21 and 22. DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway. For tickets and information, call 713-335-3445 or visit www.diverseworks.org. $8 to $15. –- Julia Ramey
Guise and Doll's
Company OnStage unveils Ibsen's intriguing classic
Although all of its action takes place in a single room, Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House ventures into the most remote regions of human emotion. Love, jealousy, mortality and blackmail are all on tap in the Company OnStage's production of the show, but it's the twist of feminism that has kept this show running since Ibsen penned it in 1879. Nora and her husband, Torvald (the play was written in Norwegian), lead a seemingly placid domestic life, but then two figures from the past appear, and one threatens to unearth a financial secret from Nora's past to her husband. By play's end, Nora proves herself to be one tough cookie, even in this age of Pussycat Dolls and Eve Ensler. Enjoy some old-timey girl power at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through February 19. 536 Westbury Square. For a full schedule, call 713-726-1219 or visit www.companyonstage.org. $14. -– Julia Ramey
Shock and "La"
It's a common complaint that opera does not offer enough spectacle to appease the modern short attention span. But Houston Grand Opera and Belgian designer Benoît Dugardyn have hurled Giuseppe Verdi's Il Trovatore into the 21st century with a set that rains, snows and sears with fiery flames. Set in 15th-century Spain, the tragic opera tells the story of two brothers, separated at birth, who fall for the same woman -- with fatal consequences. Keep an ear open for the Anvil Chorus -- you'll know it when you hear it. Opens 7:30 p.m. January 21, and runs through February 6. Brown Theater, 500 Texas. For a full schedule and tickets, call 713-228-6737 or visit www.houstongrandopera.org. Tickets start at $20. -– Eric A.T. Dieckman
Carolyn Wonderland has finally gotten her due: a tour with Bob Dylan. But before hitting the road, the venerable local queen of the blues hopes to share her good fortune with a gig at her hub, the Last Concert Cafe. Singer-songwriter Billy Joe Shaver and the Weary Boys join her at the show, which benefits the Star of Hope Mission, at 9 p.m. Tuesday, January 25. 1403 Nance. For tickets and information, call 713-226-8563 or visit www.lastconcert.com. Free; donations encouraged. -– Steven Devadanam