As a girl, dancer and choreographer Alexandra Zaharias studied ballet in St. Louis with Isabella Rainford before moving on to train at New York's School of American Ballet under George Balanchine. She took Balanchine's credo, "Never settle for mediocrity," to heart, returning to St. Louis to inspire and instruct dancers for more than 50 years through classes at her Alexandra School of Ballet. Zaharias' students have gone on to careers with some of the world's finest dance companies, from the Basel Ballet of Switzerland to the Dance Theatre of Harlem. In 1984 Zaharias established the Alexandra Ballet, the performing company for her school.
Twenty years and countless performances later, the Alexandra Ballet commemorates its anniversary with Musical, Magical, Moving, a celebration of dance at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 12, and 2 p.m. Sunday, March 13, at the Touhill Performing Arts Center on the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus (1 University Drive at Natural Bridge Road; 314-516-4949). Though classically oriented, the repertoire of the Alexandra Ballet strives to present a range of traditional, modern and original works, such as Marius Petipa's La Bayadére Act IV: The Kingdom of the Shades, with guest dancers Maya Makhateli and Nathan Vander Stoep of the Colorado Ballet; Dace Dindonis' Harlequinade (set to the music of Stravinsky); and the contemporary ballet Pagosiana, with choreography by Sharon Randolph and the music of Mark Isham. Tickets are $25 to $40; visit www.alexandraballet.com for more information. -- Jess Minnen
One Night in Chesapeake
And art goes to the dogs
With the one-man comedy Chesapeake, HotCity Theatre (via its new educational and developmental arm, the Greenhouse Series) brings a mini-culture war to the stage. A fictional performance artist named Kerr (Jerry Vogel, pictured) ruminates on art, dogs and the conservative senator who cuts off Kerr's arts funding. Linda Winder of Newsday called Lee Blessing's work a "brilliantly off-kilter fantasy" with "a casual sense of play and a serious grasp on impotent rage." Performances run Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 7 p.m. (March 10 through 20) at the Theatre at St. John's (5000 Washington Place at Kingshighway). Tickets are $10 to $12. Call 314-482-9125 or see www.hotcitytheatre.org for tickets and more information. -- Jason Toon
Murder Mystery Is Hip
And is squared
So you think you're an expert when it comes to murder mysteries. You say, "Been there, been scared." But have you ever had a peek at what happens during a murder-mystery audition? Have you ever witnessed a murder mystery within a participatory murder mystery? Thought not. Do so this weekend (Friday and Saturday, March 11 and 12) when Affton CenterStage Theatre Company (636-349-6880) presents All Over but the Shooting at the Royale Orleans banquet center (2801 Telegraph Road). There, for $25, you enjoy a meal at 7 p.m., and at 8 p.m. you learn all about how a murder-mystery audition goes down and just what kinds of actors make an appearance. You know, there's a good possibility that some of these people are desperate for parts -- desperate enough to kill. Bwah-ha-ha-ha!
Oh, and if murder-mystery dinners are too 2004 for you, try a murder-mystery lunch at 1 p.m. on Saturday; the show begins at 2 p.m. -- Alison Sieloff
In The Curious Savage, John Patrick's comedy about a wealthy older woman committed to an asylum by her greedy stepchildren, the eponymous Mrs. Savage finds that those deemed insane are often more civil than those left to roam free. The Kirkwood Theatre Guild presents this madcap romp at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday (March 11 through 19), with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, March 13, and an 8 p.m. bonus show on Thursday, March 17, all at the Kirkwood Community Center (111 South Geyer Road, Kirkwood; 314-821-9956). Tickets are $14. -- Paul Friswold