In honor of the 300th anniversary of the founding of St. Petersburg, Russia's Kirov Ballet is touring the U.S. for the first time in more than a decade. "There's been a generation change and a concept change," says spokesperson Sergei Danilian. "The ballet's gone back to its history."
The company -- which is more than 220 years old -- consists of 120 dancers and 66 musicians. Rudolph Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov both got their starts with it. The six-city tour features a performance of La Bayadère, a story of 19th-century India, complete with palm trees, elephants, and tigers. "It's one of the great ballets," Danilian says. The Kirov Ballet performs at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the State Theatre (1519 Euclid Avenue). Tickets range from $25 to $100; call 216-241-6000. -- Michael Gallucci
Grand Champeen's alt-country has an oddly familiar ring.
Austin rockers Grand Champeen aren't ashamed to acknowledge their forebears. On their third CD, The One That Brought You, they riff and roll with twang-style punk that recalls Soul Asylum, the Replacements, and the Stones. "We can really identify with the music our predecessors wrote and played," says bassist Alex Livingstone. "But we don't mind the comparisons, because we feel close to them." Unlike last year's studio-polished Battle Cry for Help, Brought You reflects the band's rousing live shows. "We wanted to get the honest version of us this time," Livingstone says. "Some of the songs we recorded just three times and took them as they were." Grand Champeen plays the Beachland (15711 Waterloo Road) at 10 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $8; call 216-383-1124. -- Michael Gallucci
Where the Grass Is Bluer
The 37th annual Kent State Folk Festival showcases old-school and new-school bluegrass as well as traditional Irish music. Nickel Creek (pictured) kicks off the fest Wednesday with newfangled acoustic hillbilly music. O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack vet Ralph Stanley and His Clinch Mountain Boys are onstage Friday, November 14, and Maura O'Connell with Robinella & the CCStringband play Saturday, November 15. All performances take place at the Kent Stage (175 East Main Street in Kent). Nickel Creek and O'Connell perform at 8 p.m.; Stanley plays at 9:30 p.m. Tickets range from $23 to $30, available by calling 866-468-3401. -- Michael Gallucci