In the antithesis of their styles and enthusiasms, the two dancers who comprise New Moves are Washington's choreographic odd couple.
With her striking features and mysterious smile, and with the breathy animation and clarity of her movement, Nancy Galeota is a dance sensualist who concerns herself with turning movement back in on itself, mining familiar territory for new riches.
More dour and serious, her performing persona almost subsumed within her work, Tish Carter has opened up her conception of dance into that nebulous area known as "performance" -- a multimedia approach in which movement is only one of many interests -- in which the visual element is clearly given more weight than the kinesthetic.
Together this team has consistently come up with some of the most interesting work to be seen in Washington. New Moves' program last night at the Dance Place, which featured a premiere by Carter and a reworking by Galeota, was a kind of schematic of the company's dual identity.
Carter's "Receiver" can be seen as a companion piece to her 1984 "Anamorphosis," which was also performed on this program. Featuring a text by Lee Fleming, "Anamorphosis" chronicled the passionate friendship of two Victorian women who eventually found strength apart from their husbands.
"Receiver" continues where "Anamorphosis" left off. The two women enter covered in white gauze (as they had ended "Anamorphosis"), only now they are merged into a creature surmounted by huge white wings. Fleming's text chronicles the end of romance, and Carter's melange of images underscores this theme: a princess in an old overcoat with a silver lining, a stiff and lifeless bride slung across the back of her groom, the bride dancing with an empty suit on a hanger, swathes of fabric draped across the stage through which the women crawl and on which they are dragged. It is a puzzling if evocative piece, more wider ranging and less coherent than its predecessor.
Galeota has revised the first section of her "Motor Series," the 1983 "From Here to There." This duet features a group of three viewers who comment upon the dance from individual perspectives and biases. The often hilarious juxtaposition and clash of interpretations is comment enough upon how the viewer's perception colors any apprehension of art. The wonder of this piece is that it is just as interesting from a pure movement standpoint. For example, using the knees as a base in place of the feet throughout its first section, Galeota cleverly and convincingly manages to make this seem a liberating device rather than a limitation.