In "Camouflage," Beth Easterly seems to be concerned with people's inner feelings juxtaposed to the front they put on to face the world, but she's best when she gets sidetracked in rambling comic non sequiturs. The hour-long "dance suite," performed this weekend at the Dance Co-op in Capitol Hill's St. James' Church, had its dull patches, but also some very funny ones that had the audience chuckling in genuine amusement.
The best of these was "Step-Wise," a duet that pitted Katie Dealy as a despotic leader of a silent Simon Says game against Catherine Clements. Not content to demonstrate her instructions, Dealy bent and prodded Clements until the movements were performed to her complete satisfaction. Dealy's fussiness and Clements' deadpan resignation turned a slight joke into a comic routine.
Another segment enhanced by the performer was "Double Exposure," a duet for Nancy Havlik and the invisible presence of the choreographer. Havlik, with a wonderfully worried face, danced as if in prison, always looking over her shoulder, waiting for a shouted correction that never came.
The non-comic sequences ranged from a frankly dull opening solo to exuberantly performed exercise class routines to a frenetically busy trio danced in near darkness. When Easterly returned to her point about camouflage, it was done mostly through costume changes and taped messages about how women act when wearing dresses. Often, the theme was delivered more effectively through speech and the performers' facial expressions than through dance.