Dance still may be a hard sell in Dallas, but it's all the rage on Broadway. Last year, Contact, a plotless dance show with recycled pop music, memorably Robert Palmer's "Simply Irresistible," won Tony awards and filled the seats. Why? Amazing dancing. This year, Billy Joel's music and Twyla Tharp's dance are kickin' rear in Movin' Out. The score is, again, not original; but Joel's 20 years' worth of selected lyrics are woven into a loose story. The strength of the dance--drop-dead talented dancers and the still-fresh, ever-radical style of choreographer Tharp--is driving the train. Get on board with some crisp local dance talent this weekend as elledanceworks presents its unique troupe's most original choreography and most excellent performers. Biography--Waging Life debuts at Bath House Cultural Center, 521 E. Lawther Drive, with a thought-provoking lineup of pieces such as "Buried" by Ronelle Eddings; "Addict: Slipping Through the Cracks" by Michele Hanlon; "Darwin" by Amy Dillard Green and "Shades of Grey" by Tamara Gerold. Performances on Bath House's black box stage are 8 p.m. June 12 through June 14 and June 19 through June 21. Tickets are $12--way less than Broadway--and $10 for students, seniors and Dallas Dance Council members. Call 214-366-0630. --Annabelle Massey Helber
KDT's puppy dog tales
Once again, school is out for summer. And while for some kids that entails doing...well...nothing, for us it usually meant increasing the hours we spent working the drive-through line at McDonald's. Texas summers might be hot as hell, but you haven't felt Satan's fire till you've shortchanged a hungry, sweaty woman on her vanilla cone and large Diet Coke. Having braved the fast-food jungle (and survived), we're glad to know that some Dallas-area students have found a more productive summer-vacation activity. As part of the New Works Festival, Kitchen Dog Theater has selected five original plays to be performed during its second annual PUP Fest. Each play was written by a local high school student (including--and we don't mean to brag--Dallas Observer intern Leah Gerchario) and will be performed June 14 at 2 p.m. at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary, 3120 McKinney Ave. Admission is free. Call 214-953-1055. --Rhonda Reinhart
Bend it like Gumby
Try making it to your yoga class more than once a week and someday you might be a contender for Neil Goldberg's Cirque...Dream It Live. Or maybe not. The show takes performance art to its physical edge with an international cast of trapeze artists flying through the air, stilt walkers towering above the audience and seemingly plastic people bending in obscenely impossible positions. And even though it may not be very ladylike to walk around on your hands with your head between your legs, Cirque is still considered to be a family-friendly show. It opens Tuesday at 8 p.m. and continues through June 22 at Fair Park Music Hall, 909 First Ave. Tickets are $12 to $58. Call 214-691-7200 or visit www.dallassummermusicals.com. --Jay Webb
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The only summer activities more American than barbecue (borrowed from the Caribbean's Arawak Indians) and French bashing (indulged by many cultures throughout history) is music. The Thomas Group Dallas Symphony Summer kicks off a series of Casual Classics concerts featuring works by Brahms, Schumann and American Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring. Featuring casual attire, casual prices ($10 to $65) and casual start times (7:30 p.m.), the performances are presented by the Dallas Symphony Association at the Meyerson Symphony Center. Call 214-692-0203. --Mark Stuertz
More fun than mandatory Mass
id you hear the one about the nun and the priest who were riding through the desert? Or how about the priest and rabbi on the train? OK, so everything we know about Catholicism we learned from jokes, Kevin Smith and a Billy Joel song--a slightly skewed view, we admit. But it's not too late to enroll in Sister's catechism class for an education or re-education in Catholic tradition. Study hard--we hear that Sister rewards pupils with glow-in-the-dark rosaries and laminated saint cards. Late Nite Catechism is an interactive play that nostalgically reminds the audience--we mean, the "students"--of the joys of school, especially Catholic school. Sister has "taught classes" in New York, Seattle, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Sydney and Melbourne. Close your eyes and you can almost smell the chalk and feel the plaid uniform skirt itching at the waistband. Just don't be tardy. Late Nite Catechism runs June 12 through June 15 at the Eisemann Center Theatre, 2351 Performance Drive, Richardson. Tickets are $23 to $26 and group discounts are available. Call 972-744-4650. --Michelle Martinez
Whether one loves or loathes the (re)definition of the musical circa Moulin Rouge or Hedwig and the Angry Inch, one haven for the genre remains constant: the stage. Perhaps it's the "let us entertain you" boxiness of a live performance that lends itself to spontaneous song, or maybe it's just a tried social tradition among the affluent, but as long as there's a stage, there shall be the musical. Accordingly, the Uptown Players offer a new production titled Ruthless! The Musical on Friday, which promises wackiness centered on the lengths a mom will go to see her child succeed. Is Ruthless! "The Bad Seed meets All About Eve meets Gypsy (gone bad)" as advertised, or is it simply The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom with singing? Your call, Mammy. The Trinity River Arts Center is located at 2600 Stemmons Freeway. Performances run through the weekend. Call 214-219-2718. --Matt Hursh
Maybe Nero fiddled while Rome burned, but the Dallas Dance Council is going to sashay into Addison and dance like they mean it even as the economy crumbles, the populace grumbles and grimacing George bumbles. Four new dance events are slated for two weekends at the Addison Conference Centre's Stone Cottage, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. each night, featuring international dance flavors called Taste Dance: Addison Style. The lineup: African dance on June 13 with Djelikunda West African Dance Ensemble; "Basically Baroque II" with Catherine Turocy June 14. Tickets are $5; kids under 12 are admitted free. Call 214-219-2290 or visit www.thedancecouncil.org. --Annabelle Massey Helber