The Dance Construction Company, one of Washington's most audacious and delightfully unpredictable troupes, courts high risk by the very nature of its methodology, which involves collaborative creation, impromptu elements in performance, and a constant search for new concepts. In a two-part program at the Dance Project last night, the score ran one up and one down.

The first part, a series of wacky vignettes devised and performed jointly with poet Chasen Gaver, proved amusingly waspish. The four DCC dancers, directed by Maida Withers, found consistently apt eccentricities of rhythm and shape to suit Gaver's kinky, ironically needling verse. The words and movement offered complementary angles of vision, rarely usurping each other's focus.

When substantially the same piece was performed at the Marvin Theatre not long ago, it was much hampered by diffuse acoustics and a space too large for intimate effects. Improved lighting, Gaver's more tempered pacing and a closer rapport between poet and dancers also helped to spruce up the whole enterprise.

All this suggests that judgment ought to be suspended about part two, "Phase Tracing," billed as "work in progress." Perhaps its elements -- a "sculptural environment" of hanging plastic strips, and electronic soundscape modulated by the dancer's motions, and the dance itself -- will mesh better when the progress has progressed a bit further. As matters stand, the choreography, so little inflected from its undulatory flux, is simply tedious.