Love is in the air this weekend in Houston as the Bayou City ramps up for Valentine's Day with celebrations of the Lunar New Year, dance, a roller derby quidditch match, and a bike ride past heart-themed graffiti murals. It's a great time to explore other cultures or learn more about your own, marvel at the athleticism in these varied performances, and finish off the weekend with an amor-themed bike ride.
Turn date night into a romantic evening when METdance returns with its fifth iteration of Duo, featuring intimate duets that explore relationships through dance. The smaller setting means every seat is a good one and you don't have to bring a date to attend, though coupling comes with some sweet discounts, including access to a four-top VIP table. View dance by choreographer Eric Handman, formerly of the "small but mighty" New York Theatre Ballet, as well as performances by Eoghan Dillon (Ireland, Canada), Mariana Oliveira (Brazil, London), and North American dancers Taylor Mitchell, Andrea Dawn Shelley and Joshua Manculich.
Performances are scheduled for February 7 through February 9 at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday at The Raven Tower, 310 North. For information, call 713-522-6375 or visit metdance.org/duo. $22 to $100.
Asia Society Texas Center is pulling out all the stops with two weekends devoted to Lunar New Year celebrations. The fun begins Friday when folk legends and historical tales come to life through zhangtou (rod-based puppetry). Come back Saturday to explore lion dancers, arts and crafts, food inspired by Asian tradition and, for the children, perhaps receive a red envelope for good luck. The party moves to The Galleria this Sunday with performances by Korean Arts Group, Huaxing Arts Group and the Shaolin Academy lion dancers near Nordstrom (level one), with more performances next weekend.
Puppetry is scheduled for February 8 at 7 p.m., Lunar New Year is scheduled for February 9, noon to 4 p.m. at Asia Society Texas Center, 1370 Southmore. Lunar New Year at The Galleria is scheduled for February 10, 16 and 17, noon to 5 p.m., 5085 Westheimer. For information, call 713-496-9901 or visit asiasociety.org/texas. Free to $10.
Tap once for no, twice for yes, then double down for this award-winning tap dancing extravaganza coming to Jones Hall, courtesy of the Society for the Performing Arts. Dorrance Dance – ETM: Double Down is the first offering out of the chute for SPA's Tudor Family Dance Series, bringing an exciting blend of classic tap with more contemporary styles where the score is actually danced by the company. Choreography is by Michelle Dorrance and 2014 Bessie Award Winner Nicholas Van Young, with Ephrat Asherie, and solo improvisation by the dancers.
A performance is scheduled for February 9 at 7:30 p.m. at Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. For information, call 713-227-4772 or visit spahouston.org. $25 to $105.
Out with Year of the Dog and in with Year of the Pig with dancing, dragons, drumming and plenty of children's activities.The Chinese Community Center, a multi-ethnic organization that bridges the East and the West through education and cultural activities, returns with its annual Lunar New Year Festival this Saturday. Explore your own heritage, or learn more about another culture, at this diverse venue where staff members speak English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese and Spanish.
The festival is scheduled for February 9 at 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Chinese Community Center, 9800 Town Park. For information, call 713-271-6100 or visit ccchouston.org/lunarnewyear. Free.
Whether you align yourself with House Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw or Slytherin, come out and watch Hogwarts students (a/k/a Houston Roller Derby) trade in their brooms for roller skates at the action-packed Quidditch Cup this Saturday. Which house will you be cheering for when leaders Waya, Hootie, Kraken and Gazelle lead Houston's only WFTDA all-girl roller derby league for an afternoon of Harry Potter-themed exhibition bouts? Seating is available outside the glass or inside the glass (VIP), and children five and under get in for free.
The Quidditch Cup is scheduled for February 9 at 3 p.m. at Houston Premier Sportsplex, 221 Barren Springs. For information, visit houstonrollerderby.com. $15 to $25.
Love will definitely be in the air when dozens of bicyclists — all wearing red, pink or heart-bedazzled attire — take off en masse to tour murals, graffiti and occasionally stop for photo opps during EastEndBikeRide's 5th Annual Love Ride. It's a popular event that seems to get bigger every year, and expect to see decorated bikes, happy couples, and possibly some "meet cutes" among the single cyclists. Bring your camera, cash, a spare inner tube and bike tools.
The ride is scheduled for February 10 from 12:30 to 4 p.m. at D&W Lounge, 911 Milby. For information, visit facebook.com/events/388253485278172. Free.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.