Until recently, the Contemporary Dancers of Alexandria were a group of strong, appealing women dancing pretty, featherweight material. Today, things are different: The talent remains but the steps and sounds in their repertoire go far beyond graceful and melodious.
Their concert this weekend at the Dance Place covers a lot of bases: dramatic gesture, the rhythms of Thelonious Monk, the spiraling, mystical motion that a Robert Fripp/Brian Eno score engenders and the prom-queen imagery that grows out of a ballad by country singer Patsy Cline.
Five of Washington's most inventive choreographers -- Sharron Wyrrick, Nancy Galeota, Daniel West, Martha Brim and Cathy Paine -- are represented in CODA's program. Paine's "Together Again," a premiere, sends five dancers rolling, musing, gesticulating, swerving moodily to Monk's bebopping piano music. One woman introduces a move, and then, before she's done, it's taken up by her neighbor and sent down the line. The dance snakes cleverly around the tricky, lyrical score, not only matching, but also enhancing the jazz. No small feat for a choreographer working with a classic sound. CONTEMPORARY DANCERS OF ALEXANDRIA -- Saturday and Sunday at 8, The Dance Place, 2424 18th Street NW. Tickets $6; $5 for students. Call 462-1321.