Top Five Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: one step promenade, please, Voyager, Houston Improv Festival, Outspoken Bean, and Tristan and Isolde

Categories: Film and TV

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Hope Stone Dance Company Artistic Director Jane Weiner has enthusiastically worked to bring contemporary dance to a wide audience. Her latest endeavor, one-step promenade, please, running Friday and Saturday, is perhaps her most ambitious effort yet. The show is set in and around the 19th Street boutiques and galleries in the Heights. Well, actually, mostly around. Dancers, according to Weiner, will make their way from one shop to another, traveling through the crowd as they go. Because the audience will be scattered throughout the area, dancers are ready to add lots of improvisation to their movements, ducking around a baby in a stroller here, circling a group of fans there. Along with members of the Hope Stone Dance company, Houston Met Too, Hope Stone Kids Ensemble, musicians Ana Treviño-Godfrey, Greg Harbar, Kristen Jensen and Kirk Suddreath will also perform.

See one step promenade, please at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, West 19th Street at Heights Boulevard. For information, visit the Hope Stone website or call 713‑526-1907. Free.

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Our second choice for Friday is native Houstonian Eric Harland who's bringing his latest project, Voyager, to the Wortham Center for a night of fiery jazz. The world-class drummer, who graduated from Houston's own High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, leads an all-star group of musicians including fellow Houstonian and saxophonist Walter Smith III and guitarist Julian Lange. Voyager is all at once composed yet explosive, drawing from obvious early 20th century jazz influences, proving that modern jazz does not have to be unapproachable to the casual listener. Harland and Smith both shine on frenetic tracks like "Treachery," which builds to a crescendo after drawing the listener in at a slow boil.

8 p.m. 500 Texas. For information, visit the Da Camera website or call 713‑524-5050. $35 to $65.

There are two Houston Improv Festival shows on Friday and two more on Saturday . Now in it's second year, the festival goes beyond the predictable set-ups of the Whose Line Is It, Anyway? improvisation franchise, showcasing the deeper spontaneity of the craft from 13 troupes. "Whose Line is a highly structured form of improv," explains festival founder and producer Todd Boring. "The games they play are clearly defined with specific rules. Most of the teams at [this] festival are performing longer sets with minimal structure and no rules. "One of our big goals this year is showcasing the diversity of improvisational theater as an art form," Todd adds. To wit: Hometown troupe This Infinite Closet performs completely in the dark, and we're not speaking metaphorically.

Catch the Houston Improv Festival at 7 and 9 p.m. Friday, 8 and 10 p.m. Saturday. Midtown Art Center, 3414 LaBranch. For information, visit the Houston Improv Festival website or call 713-909-4439. $15 to $45.

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