Is it really ballet? Hip-swiveling moves set to hip-hop beats aren't usually associated with the classic art form, but Ballet Hispanico's name belies its outgoing, aggressive mix of ballet and modern dance, which incorporates folkloric styles from Latin America, Spain, and the Caribbean. So the veteran troupe's performance of cutting-edge choreographer Ann Reinking's Ritmo y Ruido -- including aforementioned hip gyrations, plus hip-hop and Afro-Cuban rhythms -- should come as no surprise. Also on the program are Spanish choreographer Maria Rovira's Poema Infinito (inspired by the poetry of Federico Garcia Lorca), and a staging of George Faison's Idol Obsession. The pieces will be danced in four performances over three days at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW 5th Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Performances today and Saturday are at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday's shows, geared to young audiences, are at 1 and 3 p.m. Tickets cost $10 (matinee) and $18 (evening). Call 954-462-0222.
The South Florida Fair begins today, spreading out over the 121-acre South Florida Fairgrounds, 9067 Southern Blvd., West Palm Beach, for a run through February 1. The massive midway offers more than 200 rides, games, and shows. Florida Exposition '98 features entertaining and educational displays on prehistoric times, space exploration, and everything in between. The fair's big-name entertainment lineup starts with tonight's 7:30 p.m. concert by veteran rockers Grand Funk Railroad at Coral Sky Amphitheater, 601-7 Sansbury's Way, West Palm Beach; jazz saxophonist Gato Barbieri performs at 5 p.m. Sunday at the fairgrounds' Entertainment Pavilion; country great Kenny Rogers (Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.) and R&B vocal group The Back Street Boys (Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.) both perform at Coral Sky. Additionally, legendary Dallas Cowboys football coach Tom Landry speaks at 9 a.m. Saturday at Coral Sky during the Christian Leadership Prayer Breakfast. Fair admission is $5 to $10, and concert ticket prices range from $5 to $16. Call 561-798-3247.
The third annual Art for AIDS -- Auction Extravaganza benefits the Fort Lauderdale-based Ryan White Foundation for Medical Treatment and Center One. Sculptures, paintings, antiques, and trips are auctioned during the fete, which features international fashion designers Mary McFadden and Todd Oldham, daytime talk-show hosts Star Jones and Debbie Matenopoulos, and honorary chairperson Kate Shindle (Miss America 1998). The affair will be held at the Design Center of the Americas, 1855 Griffin Rd., Dania. Patron tickets cost $25; benefactor tickets cost $75 and entitle holders to admission to a private cocktail party with the guests of honor and a preview of auction items. The silent auction begins at 7:30 p.m. Call 954-568-6002.
Sure, there's art for sale. After all it's the Riverwalk Winter Arts and Crafts Fair, but art browsers can also enjoy continuous live outdoor music and a parade of boats plying the New River. Meanwhile more than 150 artists and craftspeople display and sell their work at Bubier Park, located at the corner of S. Andrews Avenue and Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Sunday. Performances Saturday are by flutist Laura Sue Wilansky and blues band the Bent Fender Trio; Sunday entertainment is provided by jazz instrumentalist Michael Bianco and rock singer-songwriter Magda Hiller. The requisite food and beverage vendors are also part of the festival. It's free (at least until you decide on those craft items you just have to have). Call 954-761-5346.
Steep yourself in fine wines and gourmet cuisine today, and you may be guaranteeing the quality of wine selections available at local restaurants and hotels in the future. The second annual Florida Extravaganza: A Unique Wine, Spirits, and Culinary Celebration is hosted by Florida International University's School of Hospitality Management, distributor Southern Wine and Spirits, and Wine Spectator magazine. By attending you'll help hospitality students -- who will someday create the wine lists we order from -- attain a just-so palate; money from the event will help build the hospitality school's Beverage Management Center. With its more than 100 vineyard owners and winemakers, plus 45 chefs on hand to pour wine and create specialty dishes, Florida Extravaganza is being billed as the largest winetasting in South Florida history. It will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Roz and Cal Kovens Conference Center, FIU North Campus, NE 151st Street and Biscayne Boulevard, North Miami. Admission is $55 in advance or $60 at the door. Call 305-919-5333.
When chief choreographer Nina Ramishvili founded the Georgian State Dance Company with her husband more than 50 years ago, the classical ballet-trained pair -- in their desire to show the world how Georgian culture differed from that in the rest of the U.S.S.R. -- created a distinctive style that's almost gymnastic in nature. Dancers actually train with weights, and male dancers jump and leap on their toes without the aid of "block" shoes. (Ouch!) The troupe's performances depict the poetry of movement found in its Eastern European folk heritage, presenting Georgian folk dances by solo dancers, pairs, and the entire group. The company, made up of 65 of the top dancers and musicians from the former Soviet Union, steps into the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW 5th Ave., Fort Lauderdale, for an 8 p.m. performance tonight, plus an 8 p.m. show tomorrow night at Dade County Auditorium, 2901 W. Flagler St., Miami. Tickets range in price from $20 to $70. Call 954-523-3309 or 305-358-5885.