East and West, past and future . . . Desert Dance Theatre and New York's H.T. Chen & Dancers prance across cultural and spatial divides in Looking Back, Dancing Forward. The bridge has largely been one of incorporation. Think modern dance peppered with hints of classical Chinese dance and Crouching Tiger-like movements. The curtain opens to a smattering of each company's individual repertory before uniting them in a 30-minute version of Warriors of Light, H.T. Chen's take on the rough road to reaching a greater end. It's an apt metaphor: Both companies turn 25 this season. The performance takes the stage at 8 p.m. Friday, April 2, at Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 North Arizona Avenue. Admission is $15 for adults, with discounts available; call 480-782-2680 or see www.ticketmaster.com.
H.T. Chen & Dancers also performs Journey to Gold Mountain, an interactive look at the "Chinese experience in America," on Thursday, April 1, at 9:45 and 11:30 a.m. For more information or reservations, call 480-962-4584. -- Elizabeth Exline
A murder mystery at Symphony Hall
Cocked eyebrows and suspicious minds abound Friday, April 2, and Saturday, April 3, when the Phoenix Symphony performs Death On the Downbeat, an interactive murder mystery that turns members of the audience and orchestra pit into suspects after an unpopular guest conductor is found dead. The 8 p.m. performances at Symphony Hall, also featuring actors from the Magic Circle Theatre Company, showcase some of the eeriest compositions from Broadway, film and TV, including Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, the "Perry Mason" theme and Steiner's Casablanca Suite. Call 602-495-1999 or visit www.phoenix symphony.org for tickets, $20 to $53. -- Joe Watson
New production looks at the homeless
Sure, any time you're bum-rushed by a panhandling homeless kid on Mill Avenue, it's easy to brush him aside or beckon a burly TEAM security guard. Don't. Give that hippie a hug or, better yet, take him to ASU to see the premiere of Street Rat, a one-act take on the hard-knock life. He'll feel right at home, as director Johnny Saldaña has transformed the play space into a homeless hovel, complete with rubbish, unfurled (but unused) condoms and rubber doggie doo. Cop a squat on blankets and watch characters Roach and Tigger spout poetry and dialogue about drug addiction and pregnancy. The play is based on the writings of Susan and Macklin Finley, two ethnographers who interviewed countless street kids in New Orleans. Performances take place at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 6, through Thursday, April 8, in the Child Drama Studio (Room 131) at ASU's Nelson Fine Arts Center, 51 East 10th Street in Tempe. Admission is free. -- Benjamin Leatherman
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