Eastern Shift 

East Bay dance asserts itself

FRI 3/28

One consoling effect of the economic downturn has been the migration of many contemporary dance companies to the East Bay. Along with this influx of artistic talent comes something that has, despite the wealth of already existing performance groups, never really existed on this side of the bay: an annual, formal dance concert series. Hence the East Bay Dance Festival, a concert featuring eight extremely diverse choreographers and companies all on one evening. It premieres March 28, 29, and 30 at the Julia Morgan Center for the Arts in Berkeley, showcasing an eclectic array of dance for a very affordable price ($14, students and seniors $12). Included are the Vaganova and Cuban stylings of the classical Mark Foehringer Dance Project; Janice Garrett; the multicultural female Kendra Kimbrough Dance Ensemble; the Navarrete x Kajiyama Dance Company, influenced by Latin-American social dance, popular culture, and political movements; Danny Nguyen Dancers and Musicians, highlighting Vietnam-US themes with variegated styles; Paufve Dance, who perform Seven, "a theatrical dance that brings the Seven Deadly Sins to a family dinner on a multigenerational cast ranging from 25 to 70"; and the Savage Jazz Dance Company, using the music of jazz legends Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Dave Brubeck, and Charles Mingus to explore the athleticism and lyricism of dance. See www.katherine-davis.com for more information. -- Frako Lodem

FRI 3/28

Shtick 'Em Up

Screenwriter/playwright Jim Geoghan wrote his comedy about comedians, Only Kidding!, in the late '80s, basing it on his experiences as a stand-up comic. The Drama Desk-nominated play takes place at various stops on the Borscht Belt circuit, and details the antics of aging comedian Jackie Dwayne (played by Roland Scrivner) and his colleagues -- all of whom use salty language in their backstage repartee. The play is not recommended for children or the easily offended, but that shouldn't stop anyone who's ever laughed at Richard Pryor. Only Kidding!, in a production directed by Lois Grandi, opens Friday, March 28 (8 p.m.) at Playhouse West in Walnut Creek (1345 Locust St.) for an engagement through April 27. For tickets ($19-$23) and info: 925-942-0300. -- Kelly Vance

FRI 3/28

How Bibbity Bobbity New

While most permutations of the Cinderella story treat it as not much more than the ultimate revenge fantasy, Don Nigro's Cinderella Waltz takes a more cynical tack. Billed as a fairy tale for adults, the romantic comedy contrasts the more popular, Disneyfied tale with the darker, Grimm Brothers version. Michael Haven directs the comedy at the Masquers Playhouse, 105 Park Place, Point Richmond, and Cinderella Waltz opens Friday, then plays most Thursdays-Sundays through May 3. Tickets are $13, general admission. Call 510-232 3888 or visit www.masquers.org for more details. -- Stefanie Kalem

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