There won't be any frilly frocks at Dance Salad. "No tutu pieces," says Nancy Henderek, the show's founder and director. "It's contemporary in that all the pieces are done now, in the current moment." Henderek has pliéd in Brussels, Sweden and Hong Kong and befriended dancers at barres across the globe. For the 12th consecutive year, she's bringing them together to perform here in Houston. The fruits of this year's travels are the U.S. premieres of works by the Royal Danish Ballet of Copenhagen and the Finnish National Ballet of Helsinki. Also on the menu is Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, an innovative troupe from the Windy City. Two of Hubbard Street's finest will perform Cor Perdut, a pas de deux inspired by a Catalan song and backed by Tunisian percussion instruments, which makes for one helluva mixed salad. 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, April 8 through 10. Cullen Theater in the Wortham Center, 501 Texas. For information, call 713-629-3700 or visit www.dancesalad.org. $15 to $42. -- Allison Bech
Hamming It Up
You'll love I Hate Hamlet
Lords and ladies, hear ye the following account of the comedic farce I Hate Hamlet. The spirit form of famed Shakespearean actor John Barrymore -- he who planted the grandfatherly seed that would spawn the salacious actress Drew -- stalks a slacker who has been asked to play Hamlet in a New York theater. Piqued that the wealthy young buck, a famous L.A. soap opera star, disdains the role of the brooding Dane, Barrymore's pontificating, ethereal form hangs around the lad's dwelling to help him prepare for the task whether he doth like it or not. Whilst said actor duels verbally with the specter, his bemused girlfriend wonders if he hath shuffled off his mortal coil all the way to the loony bin. 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, April 9 through 17. Wortham Theatre at the University of Houston, entrance no. 16 off Cullen Boulevard. For information, call 713-743-2929. $6 to $13. -- Greg Barr
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Before they were immortalized in coffee table books with titles heralding them as legends, Miles Davis and John Coltrane were just some cats trying to push the musical envelope. Later we'd realize they'd become our American Beethovens and Mozarts. Such is the case with Joe McPhee, a free-thinking, hard-blowing sax man whose 40-year, 60-album career has influenced a whole generation of free-jazz and avant-garde players. Like too many jazz maestros, McPhee has royal status in Europe but is lesser known at home, though his core following realizes he's the next musical immortal. McPhee comes to Houston with European trio the Thing at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 10. Barnevelder Movement/Arts Complex, 2201 Preston. For information, call 713-928-5653. $12. -- Steven Devadanam
Tickle Me Eleemo
Remember the kid in fourth grade who'd brag every day at lunch about how she won the spelling bee (until you'd finally shut her up in dodgeball)? You can revisit Miss P-e-r-f-e-c-t in Eleemosynary, the Company Onstage's tale of that girl, her mom and grandmother. (Please check all dodgeballs at the door.) 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Through May 8. 536 Westbury Square. For information, call 713-726-1219. $10 to $14. -- Steven Devadanam