New Season

CenterStage of Reston will kick off its 2005-06 performing arts season Oct. 19 with a contemporary dance performance by the Oberlin Dance Collective. This season's offerings include a mix of dance, literary performances, comedy, music, family and film events.

The season runs from Oct. 19 to May 20. Tickets went on sale Sept. 18 to Reston area residents and will go on sale to the general public at 4 p.m. Sunday.

Details, including times and dates, are available at

Among the highlights:

* Dance -- The New York-based Oberlin group is praised for its "athletic, passionate and imaginative innovation," according to a CenterStage news release. Other dance troupes scheduled to perform throughout the year include Sean Curran Dance and the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance ensemble.

* Literary figures -- Among those scheduled are NPR's Anne Garrels, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks, rock music critic Nick Hornby, poet Jane Hirshfield and storyteller Charlotte Blake Alston.

* Family entertainment -- Fred Garbo's Inflatable Theater Company, starring a group of stage creatures; Mark Brutsche, who will perform "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs"; Judith Ivey, a comedic actress in a one-person show; and the Reduced Shakespeare Company.

* Concerts -- Jazz, chamber music and folk music are all on the schedule, including performances by Andean musician Andes Manta, the Irish acoustic band Lunasa, Brazilian singer Claudia Villela, the a capella group The Bobs, jazz singer Patricia Barber, saxophone player and singer Stacey Kent, big-band jazz virtuoso Dave Bennett and the chamber music groups David Hardy and Lisa Emenheiser and the Audubon Quartet.

* Opera -- Julia Migenes will present "Diva on the Verge."

CenterStage officials said they will continue the tradition of encouraging audiences to stay after the show to meet the artists and talk about the performance.

CenterStage also will screen independent and international films Sundays at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are free but limited to four a person; they must be picked up in person at the Reston Community Center's Hunters Woods location. Among the season's films are "Hotel Rwanda," "Osama," "Maria Full of Grace," "In America," "Born into Brothels" and "House of Flying Daggers."

For information or to make reservations by phone, call 703-476-4500 and press option 3, or visit the Web site.

Collective Creativity

Stained-glass artist and painter Brenda Belfield, knowing from experience that creating art can be a solitary experience, likes to invite other artists into her Reston studio and gallery for group painting and drawing on a regular basis.

Belfield, a former Fairfax County art teacher, believes the group experience helps stimulate creativity. She calls the concept "Painting Out of Your Mind."

"The idea is that you develop your own creative process," said Belfield, who has created windows for the Washington National Cathedral and other places across the country.

During the summer, she took the creative process a step further when she shepherded a group of artists to Calvert County, where they explored the beaches and the boatyards of Solomons Island. The assignment was to find, collect and photograph "found" art and to develop the ability to see line, form, color and textures instead of focusing on typical views.

Encrusted hulls of boats, coils of rope and water reflections became the inspiration for artwork.

The fruits of the artists' collaborative labor, "A Day at the Bay," can be seen at Artworks Gallery Studio in Reston through Sept. 29. The show includes paintings, drawings and three-dimensional pieces. It also features a decoupage Adirondack chair that is decorated with snippets of each artist's work.

Artworks is at 11411-G Sunset Hills Rd., 703-464-7477.

Local Painters on Exhibit

The Thompson Community Center in Kingstowne will host a reception Oct. 1 to celebrate the opening of an exhibit of three local artists' oil paintings and watercolors.

Ginny Sywyj uses oils to create impressionistic works with a contemporary edge. A series of her pieces in this exhibit evokes the Cotton Club era and the Jazz Age, according to a news release.

Jan Snyder's oil paintings capture landscapes and still lifes and the personalities of individuals through her portraiture.

Marni Maree's favorite subjects for her watercolors are flowers.

The reception is from noon to 5 p.m. The community center is at 6090 Kingstowne Village Pkwy. For information, call 703-922-1841.

Best in Marching Bands

The annual Virginia Showcase of Bands competition will be held from 2 to 9 p.m. Saturday at Herndon High School.

The event, hosted by Herndon's band parents and the United States Scholastic Band Association, will feature more than 25 high school marching bands from the mid-Atlantic region.

The school is at 700 Bennett St.