Kacico Dance is for adult audiences only.
Downtown doesn't have a monopoly on the area's cultural contributions. Many events involving classical composers, lithe ballerinas and operatic sopranos take place in the shadow of Bartle Hall's alien curling irons, but others occur beneath small-town water towers. Kacico Dance, the latest artistic outlier, stages its premiere performance, Beginning: Solos and Works in Progress, at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at its rehearsal space, Echo Studio (8621 South Buckner Tarsney Road in Oak Grove). With its modern-sounding name (shorthand for Kansas City Contemporary Dance) and its challenging content (Saturday's show, which includes mature language, will admit adults only), Kacico Dance aims to establish an immediate regional reputation before attempting to become a nationally known, professional-caliber company. This weekend's shows hint at larger pieces the troupe will unveil once its season starts on June 1. Artistic director Michelle Diane Brown promises the program will exhibit "exquisite physicality and compositional cleverness," traits that translate into gracefully athletic, crowd-pleasing choreography. For more information, call 816-578-4721. -- Andrew Miller
The He Decades
Pulitzer Prize-winner August Wilson is one ambitious writer. By the time he finishes next year's installment about the 1990s, he will have completed a 10-play cycle that dramatizes, decade-by-decade, African-American life in the 20th century. Two Trains Running, set in 1969, after the deaths of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and John and Robert Kennedy, previews at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 7 p.m. Sunday at UMKC's Spencer Theatre (4949 Cherry, 816-235-2700) and officially opens Wednesday, January 26. The play, the fourth of Wilson's works to be presented by the Kansas City Repertory Theatre, then moves to the Gem Theater -- a first for the Rep -- February 17-20. -- Annie Fischer
This weekend, another jazz musician pictured in Art Kane's famous photo "Harlem 1958" steps out of the frame and into the Folly Theater. Following Benny Golson, who played the venue (301 West 11th Street) last month, Marian McPartland tickles the ivories at 8 p.m. Saturday. This pianist is quite an oddity in the jazz world: she's white, she's a Brit and she has serious chops. Finally, a "jazz legend" who's not a crusty old dude. Call 816-474-4444 for tickets. -- Harper