Behind the energetic, brusque movement of Senta Driver's Harry, there lies a series of careful choices. What they might have been became a spectators' game last night, as this dance quartet from New York began its second and final set of weekend performances at the Washington Project for the Arts.
The strong resemblances among the dancers aren't accidential. Both women, Nicole Riche and Driver, have upturned noses and high cheek-bones and are ample in the hips. The men, Jeff Clark and Rick Guimond, are slimmer than the women but not much taller. Even before the four began to move, one saw a company and not a collection of individuals.
Differences became noticeable in the dancing. Riche has resilience; she's generous compared with Driver, who is taut to the point of being stern. Guimond, of a lighter weight than Clark, has wit; Clark has dignity. Senta Driver's choreography not only uses these personal traits but sharpens them.
New this week were "Piece d'Occasion," a clown act for the women, and "Second Generation," a manual of Driver technique. "Primer," the manual's sequel, and the pinball doll drama "Sudden Death" were repeated from last week. In all these works there are deliberate fusions of divergent motions. Sometimes the ideas were stronger than the dancing that conveyed them; there was no awe when a barefoot performer rose onto the toes while sinking into a knee bend and one realize that pointe dancing is natural but needn't imply flight. At her best, though, Driver makes notions and their manifestations mesh. This happened when Clark, swinging an arm, contracted suddenly and went into a crouched spin, with his pitcher's hand ending up under a raised leg. Baseball, ballet and a child's education all became mutually vivid.