When choreographer Sharon Wyrrick seizes on a theme for one of her witty and accessible dances, she tackles it head on, turns it inside out and upside down, treats it literally and figuratively and mines it for all it's worth. Last year, her theme of choice was Home, which she explored to interesting but uneven effect in "Home Suite." This year, the subject is Romantic Relationships and the result is "Old New Borrowed Blue Me You," a most endearing work in 11 sections.
"Old New," which Wyrrick and her small company Full Circle premiered over the weekend at the Dance Place, is a dance in which a look, gesture or song can be delivered -- and interpreted -- in very different and telling ways. To the tune of, say, "Tainted Love" (as sung by Gloria Jones from a woman's perspective), Wyrrick will set four women dancing out their frustrations before four immobile men. Then, before one knows it, the song is being rendered from the male perspective by the band Soft Cell, and the quartet of disheveled fellows is gesticulating madly at four frozen women.
Such is the case with each section of the piece. Wyrrick has her say about estrangement, love at first sight, one-night stands and other male-female entanglements, employing a limited but striking palette of movements and classic tunes to make her alternately caustic and touching points. Unfortunately, only the choreographer and, occasionally, the men were totally successful in conveying the subtleties of both the movement and the message.
Along with this new dance, Wyrrick -- briefly accompanied by two threatening men in suits -- performed company member Brooke Higdon's "Etude," a vague but affecting essay on tension and reflection. The program also included Wyrrick's "Clearing," a pulsing, nonstop dance for five.