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Arts in March: Exhibits, dance and more to see this month

Jeanne Claire van Ryzin

Yes, it’s not all about the South By Southwest festivals in March.

Beyond the interactive, film and music happenings, check out this list of new and coming exhibits and performances this month.

“Wildly Strange: The Photographs of Ralph Eugene Meatyard.” Opens Saturday and continues through June 21. Blanton Musem of Art, 200 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. $5-$9 (Free on Thursdays.) 512.472-7324. www.blantonmuseum.org

An optician by trade, Ralph Eugene Meatyard (1925-1972) never considered himself more than a dedicated amateur photographer. And yet his elaborately staged and unsettling vignettes — usually involving his wife and children as characters — were innovative when Meatyard began creating them in the 1950s, and the disquieting scenes of a deteriorating American South still prove provocative today. Deeply enmeshed with a circle of writers and philosophers, Meatyard created photographs that brim with literary allusions.

Displayed at the Blanton Museum, “Wildly Strange” features 40 photographs from the University of Texas’ Ransom Center’s collection, photographs by Meatyard that came as part of several writers’ archives, reinforcing the narrative underpinning of Meatyard’s disquieting tableaux.

So Percussion,8 p.m. March 11-12. McCullough Theatre, 2406 Robert Dedman Drive. $36. 512-477-6060, www.texasperformingarts.org

The innovative So Percussion ensemble returns to UT’s Texas Performing Arts again this season for another double-header of boundary-pushing alt chamber music. On March 11, the percussion foursome premieres a new work by Steven Mackey co-commissioned by Texas Performing Arts. Then joining with vocalist Shara Worden, lead singer and songwriter for the experimental pop band My Brightest Diamond, So Percussion premieres a new piece by Worden. On March 12, So Percussion performs Steve Reich’s 1971 breakthrough masterpiece “Drumming” with the UT Percussion Ensemble.

“Between the Aether: Amanda Smith and Shelley Wood.”Opens Wednesday and continues through April 30. Artists’ reception: 6 to 8 p.m. March 20. Photo Méthode Gallery, Flatbed Building, 2830 E. Martin Luther King Hr. Bvld. Free. 512-294-9550. photomethode.com

Two Central Texas photographers share a penchant for crafting tall tales of wonder in ethereal black-and-white images.

“Hands Up, Hoodies Down.” 8 p.m. Thursday, March 13-14. Vortex, 2307 Manor Road. $10-$30. 512-478-5282. www.vortexrep.org

Performance poet Zell Miller III stages a new hip-hop theater and dance piece that riffs on recent national news events and features performers T-Fly, Kann, Da’Shade Moonbeam, Chelsea Manasseri, Sadé Jones and the Ashé Arts Collective.

Ballet Austin’s “Director’s Choice” 8 p.m. March 25-26, 3 p.m. March 27. Dell Hall, Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. 512 www.balletaustin.org

Up first in Ballet Austin’s mix repertoire program is a restaging of Stephen Mills’ sensual and athletic “One: The Body’s Grace,” set to music by Bach and Handel.

Then it’s two new short ballets by a pair of emerging choreographers.

Commissioned by Ballet Austin, Jennifer Hart — a New York City Ballet Fellowship recipient — uses the experimental music of Gavin Bryars for a new short ballet.

And Jimmy Orrante — a participant in Ballet Austin’s 2014 New American Talent: Dance competition —debuts a new work set to the music of tango composer Astor Piazzolla.