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Your Weekend Louisville Arts Picks: Ballet In The Studio, Brahms And 'American Idiot'

Acting Against Cancer

This weekend brings the opportunity to watch ballet at close range, hear new music performed by the biggest band in town, a choice of two musicals, and a moment with a famous, long-gone child.

For the classicist who wants a different kind of dance experience, the Louisville Ballet is offering the latest installment in its Studio Connections series, which — as you may gather — is a performance in the ballet studio itself.

Instead of the big stages where we usually see the dancers from a distance, Studio Connections invites the audience into the relatively intimate setting of the Louisville Ballet's building on Main Street. The dancers work so hard to make their movements look effortless, and being so close allows for appreciation of both the effort and the grace.

This program is made up of works from the company's 50-year history. They're officially sold out for this weekend, but go anyway — they try not to turn anyone away. (Jan. 29 and 30, 315 E. Main St., $25, tickets here.)

The Louisville Orchestra is pitching this weekend's concerts for featuring violinist Augustin Hadelich and his performance of Brahms' Violin Concerto, and that's a worthy reason to attend. They'll also perform Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances, written in 1940 while the composer was staying at a grand estate overlooking the Long Island Sound.

And to add something new to the program — as the Orchestra is often doing this year — we'll hear the world premiere of "A Curtis Suite," written by four young composers from the venerable Philadelphia conservatory. (An aside: Curtis says it's the most selective institution of higher education in the U.S., with an admission rate of 3.2 percent. So these folks are good.) You can catch the performance on Friday at 11 a.m. or Saturday at 8 p.m., at the Kentucky Center.

Two new(ish) musicals are onstage in Louisville this weekend, for the first time in the area. CenterStage at the Jewish Community Center brings us "Big Fish," the 2013 musical based on the Tim Burton movie of the same name. I haven't seen the musical, but the film was a sweetly weird (of course), slightly creepy (natch) fable that blended fantasy and reality — ripe for adaptation to the stage, in my opinion. (This weekend through Feb. 14, $20, tickets here.)

The punk rock-lite of Green Day did not seem like fodder for a Broadway musical, but "American Idiot," which opened on Broadway in 2010, has been a hit by every standard: 422 performances, several U.S. tours, a London production, and now, the Louisville premiere. Acting Against Cancer is bringing the story of disaffected youth fleeing the suburban life to the Henry Clay Theatre, so here's your chance to check it out. As always, proceeds from the show go to support the art therapy program at Kosair Children's Hospital. (Jan. 29-Feb. 7,  604 S. Third St., tickets here.)

For something a little more sobering yet life-affirming, I suggest a visit to the Louisville Free Public Library's main building, currently playing host to the traveling exhibit "Anne Frank: A Private Photo Album." For the exhibit, 71 images from the Frank family album are on display, many taken by Anne's father, Otto, an amateur photographer. Visitors will see the family before the impending war forced them into hiding, a reminder that displaced people are the same as anyone else before they have to abandon their lives. (301 York St., free.)

Photo: "American Idiot," via Acting Against Cancer