Young, confident, fresh from the ivory towers of Sarah Lawrence College and the realities of New York City come dancers John Jasperse and Mary Arementrout. He makes films and writes music, and both choreograph and move like mad.
Jasperse greatly admires the multimedia works of Meredith Monk, and so it follows that his "Probe" combines an assortment of simultaneous sounds and visions. To a repetitive score of trance-like music and words, he manipulates objects, freezes in extreme positions under a bank of bright lights, flails and hurls himself against the floor. Projected behind him on a huge white scrim is a film of Jasperse, bouncing off the padded walls of a tent, wading through water, sitting like some new- wave Buddha.
For her solo, "Mistaken Identities," Arementrout plays off a long, stretchy line hung diagonally across the performing space. It becomes her partner, her adversary, a boundary, an abstraction. Suddenly it's cut, and she launches into a frolic, grabbing her bare toes, picking imaginary fruit from the air and passing it around. What does it mean? That's for the viewer to decide.
Jasperse and Arementrout dance best when they dance together. Their "Brecca: a rock consisting of sharp fragments held in fine-grained material" has them interacting playfully, tenderly, as equals, as planets orbiting on separate tracks. When he leaps fearlessly into her arms, when she whips her torso around his waist, you understand the meaning of trusting give-and-take. JOHN JASPERSE & MARY AREMENTROUT -- Saturday and Sunday at 8:30 at The Dance Place, 2424 18th Street NW; $6, $5 for students. Call 462-1321.