Modern dance in the Bay Area has a lot to be thankful for. Given the number of forms like jazz, hip hop, and ethnic traditions -- from Spanish flamenco to Indian kathak -- that regularly inundate our stages, the fluid nature of modern dance makes for never-ending permutations in style. The "Printz Dance Project Home Season" draws on the company's usual aesthetic repertory, fusing movement with disparate artistic genres like beat-boxing, human sculpture, and 1980s synth-pop to explore the rudiments of motion and emotion. The five pieces include Urban Primates, whose dancers writhe around industrial scaffolding in a semblance of pre-Homo sapiens movement to the beat of African percussion and the stylized grooves of Euro-pop group Air. Imprint explores body image and self-esteem among teenage girls, intersecting movement with a video montage of confessional interviews, while Dark Spaces probes the sometimes-esoteric, sometimes-creepy terrain of people's late-night moments. Modern dance usually demands a little interpretive creativity from its audience, but Printz's emphasis on athleticism and compelling set design allows its fusions to speak for themselves. The season starts Thursday at 8 p.m. at the Cowell Theater, Fort Mason Center, Marina & Buchanan, S.F. Tickets are $18-20; call 345-7575 or visit www.printzdance.org.
-- Nirmala Nataraj
Family secrets propel Finn
After their father dies, Gwen and Rhoda think they are returning home to clean out his old house, not uncover the ghosts he left behind. But in Finn in the Underworld, a new theatrical thriller by the 27-year-old, nationally recognized playwright Jordan Harrison, an abandoned house containing just a grandfather clock soon becomes a carnival of family secrets and hallway spirits that refuse to stay locked up. Riffing off San Francisco author Shirley Jackson's novel The Haunting of Hill House, Harrison's play is described by the Stanford grad as a "psychosexual gothic horror story," and with Obie-winning director Les Waters at the helm, it's sure to pack a provocative punch. Finn opens on Thursday at 8 p.m. (and continues through Nov. 6) at Berkeley Repertory's Thrust Stage, 2025 Addison (at Shattuck), Berkeley. Admission is $15-59; call (510) 647-2949 or visit www.berkeleyrep.org.
-- Karen Macklin
It's typically bad form to focus too sharply on a woman's exposed midriff, unless the rest of her is naked and wrapped around a pole. But tonight audiences are encouraged to zone in and out, as dozens of mad, undulating bellies, precisely calibrated and choreographed to mesmerize, are slated for long-form viewing at "Madad: A Bellydance and Bhangra Benefit for the Red Cross." Nine troupes will present their takes on the styles, including Fat Chance Belly Dance, Dhol Rhythms, Belly Groove's Frederique, Azure, Ultra Gypsy, Clandestine, and, in a feat of inspired booking, the Devil-Ettes. Performances start at 8 p.m. at the DNA Lounge, 375 11th St. (at Folsom), S.F. Admission is $10; call 626-1409 or visit www.dnalounge.com.
-- Michael Leaverton
Around here, it's rarely boring to see an author read. We're lucky that way, but this series features writers who really take it to the next level -- with multimedia performances, for example, featured this week. "Performance Writing #6: Alan Gilbert and Yedda Morrison"starts at 8 p.m. at New Langton Arts, 1246 Folsom (at Eighth Street), S.F. Admission is $8-10; call 626-5416 or visit www.newlangtonarts.org.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser