If we type BookerTWashingtonHighSchool
VisualArts as one word, we'll save 10 words we can use to tell this story in our carefully controlled space. Did you go to high school there? Do you remember Griff Braun? There's not a pair of eyes reading this that doesn't realize what SMU stands for. If we also forgo the "spell-out-on-first-reference" rule around here, we'd save half a line for the story. Did you go there? Were you one of Jennifer Warren's sorority sisters? You may have grown up with Braun or Warren, or, if you're a balletomane, you'll recognize them as internationally acclaimed dancers who live in New York but got their starts in Dallas. "It's no picnic to come here and be a dancer," Braun says from his NYC apartment. "I've been very lucky to have worked so consistently." Braun was a company member for the Royal Swedish Ballet and American Ballet Theatre before landing his current job in the Metropolitan Opera Ballet. Braun and Warren are two of the headliners for the Dallas Dance Council's 20th anniversary Dance Festival, held at Annette Strauss Artist Square downtown Friday through Sunday. "I'm looking forward to coming back," Braun says. "I really haven't had a chance to perform in Dallas since I've had so much success." Joining them are dance stars Michael Rushing, who is performing two Alvin Ailey works, in his characteristic dynamic, aggressive style. Sandra Brown, whose style is lyrical and beautiful, will dance Robert Battles' "My Funny Valentine" pas de deux with Braun, featured in Robert Altman's film, The Company. The Dance Council's complicated schedule of performances, which includes 17 outstanding local dance companies, can be found at www.thedancecouncil.org. The three evening performances start at 8:15 p.m.; gates open at 7 p.m. Admission is $4 to $8. Call 214 219-2290. --Annabelle Massey Helber
Martin Short's reached that place where people pay to see routines of his that they've seen before or even routines that aren't his but he's nonetheless performing. Such is the case when Short performs with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra Friday through Sunday when he'll narrate Peter and the Wolf-- in the voice of Ed Grimley, the nerdy sketch character with the Alfalfa-esque hair that Short made famous in the late 1980s--with the orchestra scoring it. Short will also sing various Broadway tunes. The overture from The Producers is listed on the billing, though Short may not limit himself to that. The shows on Friday and Saturday start at 8 p.m. with the Sunday show at 2:30 p.m. Tickets cost $20 to $100. Call 214-692-0203. --Paul Kix
Having spent the first 18 years of our life in a small Texas town, the idea of watching a play about one isn't too appealing. For us, the quirky characters and conservative environment of the fictional Tuna, Texas, are less satire than flashback, less comedy than tragedy. But the Tuna Trilogy (including Greater Tuna, A Tuna Christmas and Red, White and Tuna) has endured for more than 20 years, so somebody must be laughing. Greater Tuna will be performed September 7 through September 12. Show times are 8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday. Call 817-332-2272 for tickets or visit the Casa Mañana box office, 3101 W. Lancaster Ave., Fort Worth. --Rhonda Reinhart
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Tolstoy's Anna Karenina goes to Tampa
Before Bill and Monica discovered the pleasures of a well-wrapped cigar, the book Anna Karenina created its own passionate stir in a Cuban-American cigar factory in 1929 Tampa. In the play Anna in the Tropics, the story of Anna Karenina is a source of entertainment as a gentleman (called a lector) reads to factory workers while they hand-roll cigars. But Tolstoy's critically acclaimed work (after War and Peace) is also a source of upheaval in this small Florida factory. The story Anna Karenina was set around the time when Russia was agonizingly entering the age of modernization. And ironically, the tradition of lectors and skilled rollers depicted in Anna in the Tropics gave way to impersonal rolling machines years later. But the connections to Anna's story and the Cuban-inspired play don't stop there. There are plenty of lost loves in both as the characters struggle to find their place. Anna in the Tropics runs from September 8 through October 3 at Dallas Theater Center's Kalita Humphreys Theater located at 3636 Turtle Creek Blvd. Call 214-252-3923. --Jenice Johnson
London's calling with a new tour
Most Hollywood blockbusters would be nothing without their musical counterpart. It's amazing how a single musical phrase can jumpstart your memory into recalling a film you haven't seen since leg warmers and ski suits were in fashion...the first time. Would Jaws instill the same kind of fear without that unmistakable two-note melody? Would Snow White be as memorable if the whistle were replaced? Join the London Symphony Orchestra, one of the most recorded orchestras in the world, in celebrating its 100th Anniversary during the Music of Hollywood concert tour. This thematic journey recounts selections from epic classics such as Raiders of the Lost Ark, Gladiator and Braveheart. Laser lights, Jumbotron screens and a live action Star Wars Storm Trooper sequence will all vie for your attention. The 15-date North American tour, conducted by maestro Dirk Brossé, begins in Dallas on Friday with a performance from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the American Airlines Center. Tickets start at $29. Visit www.musicofhollywood.com or call 214-222-3687. --Danna Berger