Vela Luka Croatian Dance Ensemble, Saint Helens String Quartet

Vela Luka Croatian Dance Ensemble

In Croatia, dances are big, community affairs—children learning the steps while their parents and families carry them along. Vela Luka takes the dance out of the village square and puts it into the theater, with four generations of performers appearing on the bill. The Ruze Dalmatinka Orchestra will perform the tricky rhythms and signature harmonies of Croatian music for this performance. Kirkland Performance Center, 350 Kirkland Ave., Kirkland, 425-828-0422. $10-22. 8 p.m. Sat. Jan. 29. SANDRA KURTZ

Saint Helens String Quartet

The artistic centerpiece of this weekend's Conference on Unity and Diversity in Religion and Culture is this intrepid quartet's concert of works exploring "the idea of political space." I have to admit to a slight allergy to this sort of music-as-journalism approach (or worse, music-as-medicine), but the lineup is a splendid one—and I'm quite ready to be persuaded to rethink the point. Accomplished, always thought-provoking local composers Janice Giteck and Bern Herbolsheimer share the bill with Cornish College faculty alumnus Laura Kaminsky, maverick Henry Cowell (his United String Quartet #4) and Arvo Pärt (Fratres, his oft-played, and justly so, reimagining of the contemplative, serene style of medieval chant). Benaroya Recital Hall, Third and Union, 206-292-ARTS. $8-$15. 8 p.m. Sat. Jan. 29. GAVIN BORCHERT

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