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WHAT: "Heartstring: A Dance Theatre Celebration"

WHEN: Tonight at 8:30, Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

WHERE: Allendale Theatre, 203 Allen St.

ADMISSION: $18; $12 for seniors and students

INFO: 884-4400

The Allendale Theatre, home to Buffalo's Theatre of Youth, is luminous on its own, with its shining windows and shimmering floors. It will take on a new light this weekend for Curtain Up!, when it plays host to Buffalo's Pick of the Crop dance company. A combination of tried-and-true works and off-the-wall premieres, this program looks like a treat for novice and aficionado alike.

Guest artist David Parsons, an alumnus of the Paul Taylor Dance Company, created the first work on the program, "Sleep Study." It's about - well, tossing and turning, something we've all been doing a lot of recently. "Sleep Study" is a sleeper in more ways than one; introduced to Buffalo in 1992, it's been a proven hit here ever since. The company calls this piece "an accessible and humorous introduction to contemporary dance."

"Loud/Soft," also one of the company's favorite pieces, offers another universal theme - the push me/pull you relations that often exist between men and women.

Gail Gilbert, another guest artist, will offer the local premiere of her 1997 work "Punctillio." Elaine Gardner, the head of Pick of the Crop, dances this humorous piece, about an anxious hostess running around trying to get ready for her guests. Gilbert, who was a founding member of the Parsons Dance Company, also contributes "The Orphan's Tale," about three orphans dancing through imaginary landscapes.

Three new works choreographed by Gardner fill out the program. We'll see "Silver Essence," a demanding solo Gardner performed recently in Corning's Cedar Arts Center. Also on tap is "Elusive Truth," an ensemble piece, and "Heartstring," a piece described as "classical modern" and set to the music of a string quartet.

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