There is a fascinating undercurrent of menace to Arnie Zane's "New Hero #2," which received its world premiere last night at Georgetown's Grace Church. This dance of exhaustion for the three men of Arnie Zane and Dancers begins with each dancer performing individual solos, continues as they borrow movements from each other, and ends with somersaults, runs, splits, catches and falls. They throw themselves into the dance with the violence of overly energetic children at play, and, like most children, they turn mean. Toward the end of the dance, you're not sure that they like each other very much.
Each of the three dancers has a different movement style, and each complements the other. Zane moves his small, compact body like a wind-up toy. Each movement is clear and precise, and he often seems propelled by his arms. Homer Avila is more delicate and seems to be all legs. With Lee Connor, one is not conscious of arms and legs at all; he uses his whole body to create a single shape in space.
Zane's "Continuous Replay," also a full company work, is an adaption of a Zane-Bill T. Jones collaboration called "Hand Dance." In this repetitive piece, the arms do most of the work. It is a dance of gesture and exactness well-suited to Zane's mechanical style.
The other work on the program wasn't a dance at all, but a song-and-slide show. "Basics," with its socially relevant lyrics about East Berlin, among other things, accompanied by slides of words, statues, bodies and other objects, indicates that Zane is either a leader in the '60s nostalgia movement, or he still lives in that decade.
The music for the program (largely by C. Bryan Roulon) was performed live and provided a suitable accompaniment without being intrusive.