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Ballet Hispanico
8 p.m. Thu.-Fri., Oct. 24-25
Tulane University, Dixon Hall, 522-0966;

The country's leading Hispanic-American dance company, Ballet Hispanico, opens the New Orleans Ballet Association's 2008-2009 season with a program of several short pieces showcasing its successful fusion of ballet, modern and Latin dance. In Club Havana , choreographer and veteran company dancer Pedro Ruiz explores classical and contemporary techniques fused with popular Latin social dance styles, including rumba and cha-cha. Vicente Nebrada's Group Portrait of a Lady is a modern narrative piece performed to a classical score by Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera. The evening closes with Ann Reinking's Ritmo y Ruido , combining Fosse-like subtle movements with Afro-Cuban rhythms. Tickets $30-$80, with a $7 discount for students and seniors. — Bryan Davis




10 p.m. Sat., Oct. 25
Ampersand, 1100 Tulane Ave., 587-3737

Canadian remix wizards MSTRKRFT like banging club beats almost as much as they dislike vowels. The pair, formerly known as the clanging electro-punk act Death From Above 1979, performs a laptop rock set that features their take on artists from Usher, Brazilian Girls and Bloc Party to garage rockers like the Kills and the Gossip, making for a fresh and slightly tweaked iteration of the club DJ. Original tracks are reminiscent of DFA1979's synth-heavy take on hard indie rock, though as MSTRKRFT, it sounds like the two have given in and realized that they're actually a disco house act with metal and punk influences and not the other way around. Cheers to them for finally embracing the synthetic beats of their dreams. MSTRKRFT tops a bill with many electronic and dance acts. Expect a long, exhilarating night on the dance floor. Tickets $15. — Alison Fensterstock




Sara Bareilles
9 p.m. Sun., Oct. 26
House of Blues, 225 Decatur St., 310-4999;

Singer/songwriter Sara Bareilles, according to her press materials and Web site, has a fairly innocuous resume: California girl strums guitar, writes gentle, poppy folk songs, sings in a college a cappella group and was voted Most Talented in her high school yearbook. Bareilles worked the small-club and coffeehouse circuit after graduating from college and garnered a small following in Los Angeles for her well-crafted, melodic piano and guitar-based pop. In 2005, the doe-eyed singer signed to Epic, got a song on The Hills and bing-bang-boom, three years later, scored a Billboard No. 1 hit with "Love Song." Often compared to Norah Jones and Fiona Apple — though spikier than the former and better-adjusted than the latter — Bareilles' cute, quirky and original work will likely outlast them both. Opening is Raining Jane, an eclectic folk-rock outfit from Los Angeles. Tickets $26.50. — Fensterstock




Nicholas Payton
8 p.m. & 10 p.m. Fri.-Sat., Oct. 24-25
Snug Harbor, 626 Frenchmen St., 949-0696;

Consummate pro Nicholas Payton has been playing professionally since age 9 and has been consistently lauded for his maturity as an artist pretty much from the beginning. Son of Preservation Hall Jazz Band bassist Walter Payton (with whom he played, as a child, in the Young Tuxedo Brass Band), Nicholas has a killer New Orleans pedigree. Besides his musical genes, the nattily dressed trumpeter studied at NOCCA and UNO with Ellis Marsalis. Payton is considered one of the leading adventurous young lions of contemporary bop, and he has recorded with Wynton Marsalis, Joshua Redman, Roy Hargrove and Doc Cheatham, among others. His latest solo project is 2008's Into the Blue , released on the Nonesuch label. It's his ninth album and is warm and melodic in a way that hearkens back to jazz's classic tones. The album features two songs written by his father, so there is a strong possibility that Payton Sr. may be in the house. Tickets $25. — Fensterstock

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