This Crowsnest has nothing to do with birds, nor is it a place: It's a young, four-member dance company whose works usher the spectator into a dark and decadent realm. Yet Crowsnest creates -- collectively or singly -- vivid miniatures, penetrating glimpses into relationships, detailed portraits of troubled souls.

Movement is at its most economical here. In "Haiku," ten short episodes separated by blackouts, these animated tableaux depict the huddles, leans and balances of three moving figures and evoke a flood of emotions and images. Another trio dance, "The Garden of Villandry," examines the romances and rejections of two Edwardian fellows by means of subtle shifts and gazes. The solo, "Nocturne," a grotesque study of an aging ballerina, is achieved through a fragile combination of costume, lighting and the sketchiest of dance movements.

Performers Martha Clarke and Robert Barnett danced for years with Pilobolus, a gymnastic collective known for its daring and unquenchable good humor; Felix Blaska began in the company of French choreographer Roland Petit, and now runs his own troupe; his wife, Marie Fourcaut, Crowsnest's fourth member, danced professionally in France for eight years, and has recently been working with Blaska's company. CROWSNEST -- Friday and Saturday at 7:30 at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater.