THE BIRTH OF MODERN DANCE in this country isn't entirely a New York story. In the early decades of the 20th century, the West Coast played host to three choreographers of enduring influence -- Michio Ito, Lester Horton and Bella Lewitzky. Their contributions will be honored in next weekend's "Facing West: Celebrate Ito, Horton and Lewitzky" program. The Japanese-born Ito began the California movement in the 1930s; his theatrical, stylized works influenced Horton, who developed his own technique and later taught Lewitzky (and, among others, Alvin Ailey). The program, which caps a week of master classes and lectures, will feature reconstructed choreography by the three, as well as by Horton follower Joyce Trisler, who became one of the foremost teachers of Horton's technique. Two local troupes, Dana Tai Soon Burgess and Company and ClancyWorks Dance Company, will perform contemporary pieces inspired by Ito, Horton and Lewitzky. Former Washington Post dance critic Alan M. Kriegsman will speak.

-- Sarah Kaufman

At the Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U St. NW. Saturday at 8 p.m. $22. Call 202-397-7328 or visit


WE GET TO HEAR Giuseppe Verdi's "Luisa Miller" only once in a while, most recently when it opened the 1995-96 season for what was then the Washington Opera. As such, those who love this early but often stirring music drama from the leading figure in late-19th-century Italian opera probably need little encouragement to attend tonight's performance by Washington Concert Opera. The cast will include soprano Indra Thomas, who won considerable acclaim as Aida last fall in her debut with Chicago Lyric Opera, singing the title role. Tenor Richard Leech will sing the role of Rodolfo, with baritone Donnie Ray Albert as Luisa's father. WCO Artistic Director Antony Walker will conduct.

-- Tim Page

At George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium, 21st and H streets NW. Tonight at 6. $20-$70. Call 202-364-5826 or visit


SURE, WE'RE ALL in the mood for a melody, but forget the piano man. Where are the piano women? Tori's new album was a flop, Fiona's latest is locked in cold storage and we're still holding our breath for the rumored Kate Bush-OutKast collaboration. New-schooler Regina Spektor helps us weather the drought as she continues to tour behind last summer's "Soviet Kitsch" -- an album of idiosyncratic pop tunes warmly illuminated by the Moscow-raised singer's genuine voice.

-- Chris Richards

At Merriweather Post Pavilion, 10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy., Columbia. Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. (opening for the Killers). $25-$40. Call 202-397-7328 or visit