For most people, rain is something to avoid; for Cathy Paine, it precipitates imaginative choreographic musings. "Rain," one of the two premieres presented by Cathy Paine and Friends at their Dance Place concert this weekend, explores not only the movement of rain itself but the amusments of people caught in intemperate weather, or forced indoors by it.
"Rain" begins with eight dancers moving as slowly as a shower on a spring day, then accelerating to the rapid patter of a pelting, driving, full fledged storm. Later in a series of brief vignettes Paine lets us spy on a trapped, noncommunicative couple or four very bored men who invent games to make their forced inactivity bearable. "Rain" is distinguished by Paine's musicality, originality and whimsy.
The other new work, "Catching Up," is a duet for a walker (Jeff Bliss) and dancer (Paine). It could be about the strategy of playing hard-to-get as an aid to freshening up a relationship, or it could be about Paine's choice of dance over ordinary movement. Whichever, the piece is intelligently structured and, like most of Paine's works, fun to watch.
Good choregraphy is attractive to performers as well as to audiences, and Paine always seems able to gather some of the city's best dancers. All five works on the program were well danced. Besides Paine herself, Beth Spicer and Ellen Gray Denker in the sweetly funny "Bedtime Story" deserve special mention.