There's no question that we are starting to feel Houston's impending humid hell that's the next handful of months. While our bodies acclimate and you stock up on deodorant and Gold Bond, I'm staying indoors this week with events that include dancing swans, influential movers and shakers, films for short attention spans, a platypus that's sold into slavery and fabulous classical music in an unexpected place.
Houston Ballet presents Swan Lake
Other than Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker, which some endearingly refer to as "The Butt-cracker" because of the sheer number of shows staged across the galaxy during the holiday season, no other Russian ballet is as recognizable as Swan Lake. Houston Ballet artistic director Stanton Welch revives his 2006 version that he imagined for this enterprising company.
With principal ballerinas Sara Webb, Melody Mennite (chillingly beautiful in Marie Antoinette) and Karina Gonzalez (loved her in La Bayadère) taking turns as the main protagonist, the latter of whom performs the role for the first time in Houston, expect only the best. But keep an eye out for Nozomi Iijima. As the performance run marks the newly promoted soloist's debut as the Snow Queen, audiences will be able to feel the excitement in the air.
There's a wedding, a lake and swans. What else would you want in a ballet? Death? Got that, too.
Psophonia Dance Company presents Intrepid
You must be thinking: Two dance suggestions in one week? Has Joel gone mad? Pardon the pun (not really), but I am crazy about the inventive ladies behind Psophonia Dance Company. The intimate troupe performs once, sometimes twice a year. And when it does, the movers and shakers bring it — "it" being thoughtful dance that incites thought and introspection while, at the same time, being entertaining.
Artistic director Sophia L. Torres has curated an evening, titled Intrepid, that premieres her The Way Station alongside new choreography by guests Estela Tejeda and Leslie Scates. From works that transport audiences to the land of dreams to oeuvres that illustrates what it means to carry emotional baggage, Intrepid offers a forum to get to know some of the city's influential art makers.
Aurora Picture Show's 17th Annual Extremely Shorts Film Festival
Marc and Julia just met. They are attractive. They are available. In a beautiful bucolic setting, they are just beginning to discover that their souls mesh. Just as the potential lovers are about to lock lips . . . . bang, pee-in-your-pants surprise ending.
Directed by Khris Burton, the one-minute film Maybe Another Time is one of 27 itsy-bitsy works with big messages that will be shown as part of Aurora Picture Show's Extremely Shorts Film Festival. Some as brief as a sneeze (yes, I am exaggerating), some a handful of minutes long, the collection films, curated by the Zellner Brothers, includes pieces by established filmmakers alongside student creations.
BooTown presents Platahontas
Without fail, every time information comes my way about the next redonculous BooTown stint (or whatever you call what the company does) I ask myself: What in name of (insert your deity of choice here) are these creatives smoking? And will they share?
But also without fail, I always fall for the amicable performers that takes their metiér seriously but aren't afraid to laugh at themselves while having a wicked good time. Case in point: Platahontas, the chief character of which is a shadow puppet that's part Pocahontas and part platypus, follows the life of a semi-aquatic as she (I am assuming) is sold into scientific slavery.
C'mon: How can you miss that?
Margaret Alkek Williams Crain Garden Performance Series at Houston Methodist Hospital presents Mercury - The Orchestra Redefined
I bet you had no idea that within the walls of Houston Methodist Hospital in the Medical Center is a thriving visual and performing arts program. Curated by the Center for Performing Arts Medicine (which by the way took unbelievable care of me when I suffered a crippling shoulder injury while harvesting cucumbers), the Margaret Alkek Williams Crain Garden Performance Series is a treasure that offers anyone an opportunity to take a breather and recharge.
Don't think of the music as the kind you may hear at a mall. Take Friday's performance that features Mercury - The Orchestra Redefined. The energetic period group, helmed by artistic director Antoine Plante, programs repertoire, including Handel's Concerto Grosso Op. 6, Vivaldi's Violin Concerto in E minor and Telemann's Suite Burlesque de Don Quichotte, which would normally be heard on the ensemble's popular signature concerts.