21 Best Things to Do in Houston This Week: Edgy Dance and Woodlands IRONMAN

Society for the Performing Arts presents the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet (pictured) on Friday, April 21.EXPAND
Society for the Performing Arts presents the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet (pictured) on Friday, April 21.
Photo by Sharen Bradford

Tuesday, April 18

Talk about stepping outside one’s comfort zone. After Argentinian-born Daniel Proietto (a dancer with the Norway-based touring company winter guests) trained with the “Balanchine of the kabuki world,” Alan Lucien Øyen (the troupe’s choreographer/director) knew he wanted to incorporate those Japanese aesthetics into a new dance. The sparks really flew when Øyen discovered the 77-year-old Japanese-born flamenco dancer Shoji Kojima. “We fell in love with him as a person, as a dancer. When we started to dig deeper, we saw a lot of similarities [in the dances].” During CounterCurrent17, presented by the University of Houston Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts, Simulacrum makes its U.S. premiere, telling the tragic story of the adopted Kojima’s lifelong search for identity through music, shadow play and costume. Øyen says the first act has “elements of kabuki, flamenco and contemporary dance, and then the second act is kind of a purist kabuki piece. It’s quite sensational.” 7 p.m. April 18 with an opening reception at 6. Continuing 7 p.m. April 19 and 20. The MATCH, 3400 Main. For information, call 713-521-4533 or visit countercurrentfestival.org. Free. — Susie Tommaney

Physics, engineering and space exploration nerds unite: The Houston Symphony’s third installation of its National Geographic Live lecture series is taking us beyond the moon and all the way to Mars. Kobie Boykins, a mechanical engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, will talk about his work to send rovers to the Red Planet and what it took to get them there. Of course, he’ll also have some lavishly illustrated presentations to add to the evening’s thrill. “The story is about how we engineered the rovers to get to the surface of Mars. It’s not the science story,” says Boykins. “It’s more about how we designed them and engineered them to work effectively on the surface of Mars.” Plus, find out about the mysterious “six minutes of terror,” and maybe Boykins will spill the beans about life on Mars during Exploring Mars: The Next Generation. 7:30 p.m. April 18. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. For information, call 713-224-7575 or visit houstonsymphony.org. $15 to $65. — Sam Byrd

Wednesday, April 19

For the annual iteration of Ten Tiny Dances®, the dancers and choreographers are challenged both by the four-foot stage and with keeping the performances fresh for viewers. The organizers (the University of Houston Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts) are playing with scale this year, contrasting the tiny stage with the cavernous, old former downtown post office, but that allows for plenty of room for audience members (most of whom will be standing). This year’s slate brings Tiny newbie Connor Walsh, principal dancer for the Houston Ballet, who found the venue inspiring; he’s debuting a new piece of choreography and was still trying to work out whether it should be for one dancer or two (certainly not more). It will be the first time doing a Tiny Dance in the Bayou City for Austin-based Charles O. Anderson; his duet is an excerpt from an evening-length piece inspired by American composer Steve Reich. The program also includes a dance by H-Town-born and -raised Courtney D. Jones, who has logged time on Broadway’s touring production of Wicked and now serves on the faculty at The High School for Performing and Visual Arts. Come early at 7 p.m. for a reception sponsored by Saint Arnold Brewing Company. 8 p.m. April 19. Post HTX, 401 Franklin. For information, visit countercurrentfestival.org. Free. — Susie Tommaney

Each year, River Oaks’ fancy ladies dip into their closets, pull out barely worn name-brand clothing, shoes, handbags and jewelry, and donate the goods. A diligent team of volunteers then hauls literal tons of textiles and shopping opps to a collection site formerly known as Baker Furniture, where the “Reflections on Style” Chic Boutique Showroom Sale, featuring goods by Prada, Escada, Chanel, Gucci, Tahari, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic and more, goes off. “A $1,000 suit might be $80,” says media specialist Kathryn Smith, who adds that the annual sale only offers up women’s clothes (but that could change in the future), and that last year’s shindig brought in nearly $1 million for The Salvation Army of Greater Houston. 5 to 8 p.m. April 19. Continuing 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. April 20 and 21, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 22. Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary Chic Boutique, 1111 Uptown Park, Suite 120. For information, visit salvationarmyhouston.org. Free to $20. — Steve Jansen

Thursday, April 20

Bzzzzt. Bzzzzt. What's that buzzing, you ask? Spring training is over and it's opening day for your defending 2016 Atlantic League champions, those feisty Sugar Land Skeeters, coming out of the dugout for a seven-game homestand against the Bridgeport Bluefish. First-day perks include giveaways for a replica ring and magnet schedules, postgame fireworks and a first look at those new to the swarm: pitchers Brett Marshall, Andrew Johnston, Bobby Blevins and Felipe Paulino; catcher Chase Peterson; and infielders Anthony Giansanti and Chris Nelson. Fan support is even easier with new on-field host Jessica Munoz, more videos, a wider music selection and some brand-spanking-new fascia video boards. It looks like concession-stand prices haven't gone up, so be sure to chow down on smoked sausages with fried jalapenos, the oh-so messy (but oh-so good) brisket-topped fries, and that "only in Texas" sweet and spicy chopped steak with fresh fruit, chili and lime. Come out and take a selfie with the unnaturally green Swatson, who was named 2016's Minor League Mascot of the Year. 7:05 p.m. April 20. Continuing 7:05 p.m. April 21, 24 and 26; 6:05 p.m. April 22; 2:05 p.m. April 23; 12:05 p.m. April 25. Constellation Field, 1 Stadium Drive, Sugar Land. For information, call 281-240-4487 or visit sugarlandskeeters.com. $9 to $55. — Susie Tommaney

Think MacGyver, but for the arts. Visual artist Kevin Beasley takes odd bits of machinery, obsolete technologies and the flotsam and jetsam of studio life to create sculptures that channel energy. For Movement V: Ballroom — part of CounterCurrent 17, presented by the University of Houston Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts — Beasley drew inspiration from the Eldorado Ballroom to create 16 modular pieces in which footsteps create vibrations that feed into software that translates movement into light. “It’s so much about the people that have come through, not just the performers, but the people that have come to see the performances, the dancers, the people within the community,” says Beasley. After experiencing the exhibition, come back at 8 p.m. Saturday when Beasley becomes one with the machine for a one-night-only performance. An opening reception is 7 to 9 p.m. April 20. Also noon to 8 p.m. April 18-23. 2310 Elgin. For information, visit countercurrentfestival.org. Free. — Susie Tommaney

Just weeks after presenting the music of Spain, the Houston Symphony continues its musical journey through Europe with a tour of Italy in The Pines of Rome, featuring guest conductor Vasily Petrenko and violinist Elina Vähälä. Verdi’s overture to Un giorno di regno and John Corigliano’s The Red Violin Concerto, based on the Oscar-winning film score, will set the table for Ottorino Respighi’s expertly paired companion pieces, The Fountains of Rome and The Pines of Rome. “The composer painted such a vivid picture,” says Rebecca Zabinski, Houston Symphony artistic administrator. “The orchestra takes you on such a journey. It’s not intimidating. It’s not challenging for the ear. This is the perfect music for someone coming for the fist time.” 8 p.m. April 20 and April 22, 2:30 p.m. April 23. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. For information, call 713-224-7575 or visit houstonsymphony.org. $25 to $136. — Sam Byrd

Friday, April 21

Executive director Jean-Philippe Malaty doesn’t blame you for assuming his company is all pointe work and toe shoes — ballet is in the name, after all — but Aspen Santa Fe Ballet is a contemporary ballet company; the three commissioned works on the program for the Wortham are influenced by hip-hop, Latin dance, ballroom, Broadway and pop singers. “We believe ballet is a living art form,” says Malaty. “We believe the sheer visceral power of dance can make people happy or move them emotionally.” So expect to laugh as dancers decked out in red groove to Xavier Cugat and Pérez Prado in Cayetano Soto’s Huma Rojo, and think as Cherice Barton uses cuts, montage, sound mixing and voiceover to explore happiness in Eudaemonia. And, Malaty notes, “[it’s] not unusual for us to see a grown man coming [out at] intermission and crying” after viewing Alejandro Cerrudo’s poetic Silent Ghost. 8 p.m. April 21. 501 Texas. For information, call 713-227-4772 or visit spahouston.org. $43 to $103. — Natalie de la Garza

What were you doing at age 12? Cutting your second record overall and first for the heavy-hitting jazz label Impulse! Records? Don’t feel down — not everyone can be Denardo Coleman, son of the late Fort Worth native and “free jazz” inventor Ornette Coleman. The drummer, now a full-grown adult, will be joined by Houston natives Chris Walker (bass) and Jason Moran (piano), who’s also the artistic director for jazz at the Kennedy Center, for the latest installment of Da Camera JAM, a partnership with Discovery Green that presents jazz-centric groups throughout April in honor of Jazz Appreciation Month. “We’re super excited,” says Lauren Mitchell, Discovery Green marketing manager. “They’re a pretty great act, and that’s one of the cool things about this partnership.” The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts Jazz Ensemble opens. 6:30 p.m. April 21. 1500 McKinney. For information, call 713-524-5050 or visit dacamera.com. Free. — Steve Jansen

After the Foundation for Modern Music brought in Jade Simmons to perform at its annual anti-bullying festival, executive director Paul Boyd knew that he wanted to work with the talented pianist again. “We always want to collaborate with somebody new,” says Boyd. “I can’t think of the last time we didn’t do that.” Simmons will perform a tribute to jazz pianist Lillette Harris with the new single “The Flight,” which is based on Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Flight of the Bumblebee,” while Urban Souls dances to Harrison Guy’s choreography during Music That Should Be Danced. The collaborative music and dance event will include participation by Greenbriar Consortium, Houston Symphony musicians, Meyerland Middle School’s Dance Department, Multicultural Education Counseling through the Arts and FMM’s Avalon Ensemble. “We have African, Asian, classical, Hawaiian, hip-hop, Mexican and jazz idioms inspiring new choreography,” says Boyd. 8 p.m. April 21. Miller Outdoor Theatre, 6000 Hermann Park Drive. For information, call 281-823-9103 or visit modernmusic.org. Free. — Steve Jansen

The more Martha Redbone presented the interdisciplinary Bone Hill — The Concert, which features William Blake’s poetry set to Appalachian mountain music, the more she realized she was telling the stories of countless other family histories. The theatrical concert, commissioned by Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater and presented by Lott Entertainment, follows a family through four generations during and after the Indian Removal Act of 1830. “Most people don’t associate Appalachian mountain music with people of color, let alone people of color living in Appalachia,” explains Redbone, of Cherokee, Shawnee, Choctaw and African-American descent. “We thought there would be an interesting story to share with everybody since my family had been there since the beginning of time. It’s a story that’s always been there but nobody knows.” 8 p.m. April 21 and April 22. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. For information, call 713-220-5700 or visit alleytheatre.org. $37 to $47. — Steve Jansen



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