Though this city is frequently blessed by the visits of dazzling out-of-town dance troupes, the local scene has, for the most part, been rather listless. Thank heavens, then, for New Moves, a young company whose two members, Nancy Galeota and Tish Carter, display a strong technique, a wry sense of humor, an ability to edit and refine their work and a low-key, thoroughly honest style.

Their performance last night at the Washington Project for the Arts lasted scarcely more than an hour, but in that brief time one had the chance to sample each choreographer's individual contributions, and to witness the obvious rapport they share dancing together. Galeota's offering, "Weeds," is a pure-movement piece, studded with bursts of quick, unison footwork, leavened and softened by slow exchanges of weight and support. There's care in every gesture: in the way Galeota reaches for a lock of her partner's yellow hair, or the manner in which the two cross one leg over the other and sink their soles into the floor.

"Phrase in a Black Room with Elephant Bones," a collectively created dance, deals elegantly, and comically, with the very small and black WPA performing space. "It's an unusual space, not quite a theater," muses Galeota as she wiggles her hips sinuously, and taps her heart, hair and the air above her. Carter exits, only to return with two huge white sculptures (the elephant bones) that she places ever-so-artistically in a corner.

Carter's love of objects blossoms in "Three Sections of Metaphor," a witty essay on money, work and leisure filled with alternately mechanical and curving gestures, tires, fish, a pendulum, various music, stage hands dressed as businessmen and many more concrete and abstract riches.