Dance Off


Kay Armstrong tossed her toe shoes and trashed her tutus a long time ago, preferring the business end of ballet and contemporary dance to performing or teaching. Armstrong heads up the Dallas Dance Council, but before that she was part of a team that organized the Houston Ballet and Ballet Oklahoma. She began her fourth decade as a dance executive back in Dallas, where she grew up. Today, Armstrong is leading a frazzled team of dedicated Dance Council board members and volunteers to put the finishing touches on its biggest event of the year, Dance for the Planet. It's two days of international dance styles, performances, audience participation, children's activities, dances of faith, salsa, ballroom contests, food, fun and a dance-themed marketplace at Annette Strauss Artist Square. Planners have scheduled 130 dance organizations and 1,500 performers to fill Saturday and Sunday with excellent programming to entice newcomers and dance fans alike to revel in and support dance companies, schools and choreographers of Dallas. This year's festival theme is accessibility, Armstrong says, highlighting unique dance groups made up of physically or mentally disabled dancers. Guest artist Michele Owens-Pearce of Austin and her group, Wings, featuring mentally disabled student dancers, and Allison Orr's Sextet Forklift, a company of blind dancers who perform with their guide dogs, bring home the theme. "Dance and movement gives everyone freedom," Armstrong says. "It's freedom from whatever restrictions you have or think you have." She adds, "Dance really is for everyone." Find out firsthand for free from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Dance for the Planet, downtown at 1825 Leonard St. See or call 214-219-2290. --Annabelle Massey Helber

Happy Days

If you ignore McCarthyism, the Day the Music Died and the Korean War, the '50s were a pretty hip time for America. Poodle skirts, hot rods, wacky teenagers. What's not to love? Well, besides the aforementioned witch hunts, deaths and war, we mean. But Irving's upcoming Fifth Annual Rockin' '50s Festival prefers to look back at the more positive side of the decade and have a blast with some hot tunes, bent eights and good eats--not to mention a car show with trophies. So amble down to Main Street in the Irving Heritage District on April 24 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to check out the scene. Bring some bread ($10) if you want to enter the car show, but regular admission is free. Call 972-721-3636. --Mary Monigold

Golden Years

With the hustle and bustle of living in a thriving community, have you ever stopped and wondered what it was like before DART and Internet cafes? Well, Plano is celebrating its roots with a brand-new event. The Blackland Prairie Festival, which is 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 25, explores downtown Plano's history. The cobblestone streets will be filled with period art exhibits and demonstrations such as soap-making and candle-dipping. There will also be costumed tour guides to lead you along the way and a petting zoo for the kids. And, if you are a fan of Antiques Roadshow, the antique appraisals will catch your interest. Plus the simulated gunfights are sure to entertain the guys. Visit --Jenice Johnson

Spring Fever
Concert leaves audience in a Daze

Cyndi Lauper may be a safe, "family-friendly" songwriter these days, but that wasn't the case when she debuted on MTV in 1984 singing about rebellion and masturbation and hanging out with wrestlers. Try not to think about the lyrics to "She Bop" if you find yourself surrounded by families and small children at KVIL's Girls Just Want to Have Fun concert during Arbor Daze with Lauper and opening acts Taylor Dayne and Mulberry Lane. Dayne is a whole other story; with her deep, throaty voice, mounds of trashy hair and huge, pouty, collagen-injected lips, she looks and sounds more like a drag queen than a polite, petite pop singer. Makes you wonder if in 20 years Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera or even Marilyn Manson might someday headline one of KVIL's family-friendly concerts. Lauper and the gang perform Saturday at 6 p.m., but Arbor Daze is open noon to midnight Friday, 10 a.m. to midnight Saturday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday at Highway 183 and Highway 360 in Euless. Admission is free. Call 817-685-1660 or visit --Jay Webb

Girl Power
Documentary features rights and fights

Very sheepishly would we confront the ghosts of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. "Gee, Liz, Suzy, you worked so hard for women's suffrage and, er, we just haven't really, uh, been voting lately," we would mumble. After they pummeled us with their spectral fists, they'd remind us not to take women's rights for granted, and besides, when they were kids, they had to walk miles in the snow, barefoot, just to buy bread. Things change, though the equal rights struggle continues, as portrayed by Dallas filmmakers Cynthia Salzman Mondell and Allen Mondell in their film The Spirit of Women. The documentary chronicles the events of the 1977 National Women's Conference in Houston, an attempt to develop a plan to promote equal rights for both sexes. The film premieres April 22 at 7 p.m. in the theater of the Hughes-Trigg Student Center, Southern Methodist University, 3140 Dyer St. Tickets are $12. Call 214-826-3863. --Michelle Martinez