First Dance

FRI 5/16
The best way to keep an at-risk kid from risking it is to nurture his passion. "Dance kept me on the earth," says Jane Weiner, founder of Kid's Play, the performing arts program for underprivileged children. "For kids to have the kind of handle on life that art provides is invaluable." The Kid's Play instructors -- who work with students in dance, theater and performance art or music -- were selected for their ability to inspire youngsters. To help them develop long-term relationships with the students, the program spans a five-month period, culminating in a show called Kid's Play at DiverseWorks. Most of the children have never performed before, so they'll present a program of short pieces, which Weiner describes as a "wonderful hodgepodge of youthful energy." Weiner says Kid's Play keeps her own muse vibrant, too. "It reminds me why I'm an artist," she says. "I learn from the kids' innocence." 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Friday, May 16. 1117 East Freeway. For reservations, call 713-335-3445. For information, visit $5.-- Eric A.T. Dieckman


SUN 5/18
Black Oleander
Galveston's International Oleander Society wants kids to get into nature and gardening. That's why its annual Oleander Festival will feature nature crafts classes, a flower-arranging contest and a puppet show by the Houston Puppetry Guild. But first, a warning to parents: The oleander is a toxic plant; ingesting just one of the leaves can be fatal. If your kid has an oral fixation, watch him like a hawk. Crafts classes: Saturday, May 17, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Puppet shows: Sunday, May 18, 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Flower arrangement contest: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Moody Gardens Visitors Center, 1 Hope Boulevard in Galveston. For information, call 1-800-582-4673. Free. -- Troy Schulze

Yoga for Youngsters
One imagines Madonna to be a mama of the despotic variety. So when you hear about her daughter, Lourdes, doing yoga, you kinda feel for the kid. But the truth is, Lourdes isn't the only peewee yogi around. The Joy Yoga Center in Houston is even hosting kids' parties. "Yoga allows kids to have fun while getting great physical exercise," says the center's Joy Calvert. "They especially love the poses where they can imitate animals, because it really fuels their imaginations." Kids can have parties at the center, or Calvert will go to them. She says even youngsters who've never tried the discipline show remarkable abilities. "In general, kids are extremely flexible," says Calvert. "As adults, we tend to think, 'I can't do this.' Kids are much more fearless when it comes to yoga." For information, call 713-819-9390 or visit 1916 West 18th Street. Price start at $10 per child. -- Cathy Matusow

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