Ah, if only we could all just dance out our problems together. A Palestinian children's troupe from Dheisheh Refugee Camp in the Gaza Strip is spearheading the effort: The ten boys and ten girls, ages 13 to 16, bring their politicized steps to Houston this weekend. They met at the camp's cultural center, Ibdaa. "It's a really amazing place in spite of really bad conditions," says Hadeel Assali, who visited the camp in January and was taken aback by the teens' ability to transcend the violence around them. "To see them overcoming that is definitely very inspiring," she says. "These are just really phenomenal kids." The children, in flowing native garments, perform dances that Assali describes as "traditional with a little bit of theatrical modernization." One, called Al Khaima ("The Tent"), tells of the history of Palestinian refugees. A second, Al Wasiya ("The Will"), is set to traditional folk songs and tells of farmers in pre-1948 Palestine. A third, called Mua'taqal ("Political Prisoners") -- created by former prisoners -- depicts lives dictated by curfews, checkpoints and barriers. "It's dance, but it's highly politicized because of the situation these kids live in," Assali explains. Check out their peacemaking moves at 7 p.m. Friday, November 11. Granville M. Sawyer Auditorium, Texas Southern University, 3100 Cleburne. For information, call 832-474-5556 or visit www.mecaforpeace.org. $10 to $20. -- Julia Ramey
You won't Envy dos chicas's prison ladies
Even with the kind of fat living the ugly bugs have in most Houston homes, it's hard to imagine who would want the life of a roach. Yet dos chicas theater commune's Envy the Cockroach, named for the lyrics of Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues," soberly looks at the lives of three women who just might. Kaitlyn, Zoe and Jolene, prisoners in the maximum-security Oakdale Reformatory for Women, wish that, like the roach, they could escape austere prison walls and mental anguish. But these women are survivors -- meaning they're more like the pesky pest than they might think. 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, November 11 through November 19, and December 2 through December 10. Free Range Studios, 1719 Live Oak, suite E. For information or reservations, call 832-283-0858 or visit www.geocities.com/dccommune. $10; pay what you will on November 16 and December 9. -- Mary Templeton
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Stringing You Along
Bobbindoctrin's second annual Puppetry and Film Festival harvests a fresh crop of short plays and films on the cutting edge of puppetry. Francesca Marquis's song-and-violin-accompanied shadow puppet story Sister Lace is about a woman whose lace creations come to life. Katie Jackson's Selphy Steem recounts how a young woman finds a spiritual mentor in her grandmother when her secular education leaves her stranded. The show also includes three installments of Craig A. Knitt's thrilling Whackjack series, which pits retired CIA operative Jack Whackman against well-weaponed woodland creatures in visceral puppet vs. puppet action. And that's just the first string. 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, November 11 and 12. M2 Gallery, 325 West 19th Street. For information and reservations, call 713-526-7434 or visit www.bobbindoctrin.org. $8. -- Mary Templeton
Ballet, "Minus" Clothes
Okay, we know that Montreal is famous for its strip clubs, but stripping ballerinas, too? Apparently so, as evidenced by Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, whose quirky show "Minus One" features impromptu dance performances with audience members, film clips, slide projections and singing, stripping dancers. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, November 11 and 12. Wortham Theater Center's Cullen Theater, 501 Texas. For tickets, call 713-227-2787 or visit www.houstonballet.org. Tickets start at $17. -- Steven Devadanam