If watching Hugh Jackman and Guy Pearce movies isn't enough to quell your lust for sexy Australian men, we suggest you get a dose in person. Damien Welch, a principal artist with the Australian Ballet, is dancing the lead in Divergence, part of Houston Ballet's Winter Repertory Program. Divergence is a provocative, cutting-edge work created by Damien's brother, Stanton (Houston Ballet's new artistic director), in which female ballerinas wear black bustiers and the men show off their macho musculature. "It's like two hours' worth of steps in 40 minutes," says Damien, who's here because of an international exchange between the two ballet companies. Blessed with a charming accent and an enthusiasm for his work, Damien also shares the talent for movement that runs in his family. (The Welch parents are well-known Australian ballet dancers.)
Despite everything in his favor, Damien is missing one thing that would make his visit to Houston complete: a car. "I've heard that Galveston Island is great," he says, "but when I looked into getting down there, I found out there isn't even a bus." 7:30 p.m. Thursday, February 26. Program runs through Sunday, March 7. Wortham Theater Center, 500 Texas. For information and a complete schedule, call 713-227-2787 or visit www.houstonballet.org. $11.50 to $115.50. -- Christie Taylor
Into the Kleig Lights
As members of the Houston Ebony Opera Guild well know, the terms "soul" and "opera" aren't mutually exclusive. At the annual African-American Music Gala, conductor-composer Roland Carter and the world-renowned soloists of the HEOG will present a concert of works by African-American composers, featuring solo and ensemble selections from the famous concerts of Duke Ellington and Undine Moore. The gala also will be a centennial celebration honoring Moore. While Ellington's operatic work is not known to many, Moore's contributions to the dramatic art form span generations, and her unique arrangements of spirituals and original compositions are timeless. She was a great teacher, too -- many of her students have become celebrated musicians in their own right. 7 p.m. Saturday, February 28. 4 p.m. Sunday, February 29. First Presbyterian Church, 5300 Main. For information, call 713-333-2236. $15 to $20. -- Felicia Johnson-LeBlanc
Three Mo' Three Mo' Tenors
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Okay, this might get a little confusing: Originally there was the Three Tenors: José Carreras, Plácido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti. These guys were some of the best vocalists in the world, but they didn't have much soul. So along came Victor Trent Cook, Rodrick Dixon and Thomas Young, billing themselves as Three Mo' Tenors. So far so good, until the trio's former booking representative hired three mo' tenors (Ramone Diggs, Kenneth Gayle and Marvin Scott) to take the places of the original soulsters on tour. This new trio will make its debut at Jones Hall, where you can decide for yourself how much mo' you can take. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, February 27 and 28. 615 Louisiana. For information, call 713-227-4772 or visit www.spahouston.org. $21.25 to $56.25. -- Keith Plocek
Have you ever wondered what doctors do with organs in their spare time? Well, we can't speak for the whole medical profession, but in the case of the Doctors Orchestra of Houston, the answer is simple enough: They play them masterfully. They'll tune up for a program called "Reach for the Stars" at 7 p.m. on Saturday, February 28. Stude Concert Hall, Rice University campus, entrance no. 8 (off University Boulevard). For information, call 713-629-3700 or visit www.doctorsorchestrahouston.org. $10 to $20. -- Keith Plocek