Rebecca Cross's still-life paintings are anything but still. Lemons swirl, pears split in half and reunite, wine bottles dance with grapes. Things are not what they seem in the fruit bowl of life.

"It's really very upbeat and funny," Cross said of "Still Life," the result of her collaboration with the Bresee Dance Company of Norway. "The idea is that the dancers are part of the painting."

Cross joined up with Kathryn Bresee to create "Still Life" and one other of the four works in "Unstill Lives," which will be performed by the dance company Tuesday and Wednesday at the Kennedy Center. Cross also created the sets and costumes for Bresee's "Daily News," an abstract look at the relationships among three women.

Cross and Bresee got the idea of working together while they were students at Bennington College in Vermont. They kept in touch after graduating in 1977 -- Bresee moved to Norway and Cross to London -- and finally got together two years ago at Christmas to solidify their plans. "We sent things back and forth through the mail and finally came up with the idea to bring a big still life painting to life," Cross said.

It was a challenge for Cross, who was used to painting on small canvases. But for Bresee's production, she not only needed to create large-scale paintings for the sets; she also had to turn humans into fruit. "They had full unitards that I painted on," she said. "It was really a lot of fun for me, but it was much harder on them. They all think I'm a torturer now because the wet paint got on their skin and it got cold. Then we dried them with hair dryers."

The experience has given Cross a new perspective on her art, not only in terms of scale, but also in the themes underlying her studio work. And she gives a lot of credit to Bresee for that. "In the last movement of 'Still Life,' the music changes {to Bizet's 'The Pearl Fishers'} and the dancers change their whole way of dancing, to a sort of longing for the past and sadness," she said. "That's what still life is about ... about decay, about how life on earth is fleeting, how fruit doesn't stay ripe. And she's expressed that through movement.

"I think that her contribution was sort of an eye-opener to me. Through the dancers, she shows this aspect of my painting that I hadn't {expressed}. I'd like to incorporate this whole decaying side of things into my painting. I hadn't thought that out. I'd like to do that."

Folger Plays Host The Shakespeare Theatre at the Folger announced last week that it will present the U.S. premiere this fall of the Georgian Film Actors' Studio Theatre, based in Tbilisi, capital of the Soviet republic. It will be the first time the Shakespeare Theatre has hosted an outside troupe. "They're a major company," said Michael Kahn, artistic director of the Shakespeare Theatre. "Their physical agility is quite extraordinary. They're very witty and very iconoclastic."

The Film Actors' Studio will present six performances Nov. 11 through Nov. 14: two of "Bakula's Pig," a traditional Georgian story about bureaucracies, and four of Moliere's "Don Juan." All performances will be in the Georgian language, but according to Kahn, "everyone who has seen {the company's work} said it transcends the language barrier. You don't need the synopsis."

Kahn said the Shakespeare Theatre plans to visit Tbilisi as part of the exchange, although no production or date has been chosen yet. More Indian Museum Appointments The National Museum of the American Indian has filled a few more slots in its organizational chart. Director W. Richard West Jr. has announced the appointments of Dave Warren as deputy director, Jean Salan as deputy director for administration and budget, and Elaine Heumann Gurian as deputy director of program planning. James Volkert was named to head the inaugural exhibition in the George Gustav Heye Center, the museum's satellite space at the Old U.S. Custom House in New York City.