Lucy Bowen McCauley is like a cask of wine: The longer she's around, the better she gets. Her company's ninth annual program at the Terrace Theater on Wednesday presented three new works that entered new territories for this local choreographer. The new works were courageous and well crafted.

The most ear-catching was "Telemetry," an ensemble work with one long solo set to a wall of earsplitting electronic music by the musical group Tone. The dancers' attire evokes whips and chains and sadomasochism. Both the dancers onstage and the musicians in the pit thump, twang and stomp with disciplined ferocity. The music is intentionally repetitious melodically and is layered with lots of electric guitars and heavy percussion. The amplification was so loud that the music was painful. Yet even with one's head feeling thick from the pounding, the dancing was electrifying. Bowen McCauley let her hair down, dipped into her unconscious and pulled out surprise after surprise. This stylish, in-your-face work is like looking into Cinderella's dark side or Peter Rabbit's sex life.

Also premiered was "Tus Ojob Claros . . . Santa Lucia," a starkly dramatic solo for Bowen McCauley by Mexican choreographer Jaime Sierra, a work for dancer, two benches and two dancer/stagehands who decorously haul the benches around. At times Bowen McCauley hung, crucifix-like, from the benches, hid behind them, balanced along their length or used their planks as a visual background. The work had the melodrama and heart of a Diego Rivera painting.

Bowen McCauley's new lyrical duet "Resonance" was beautifully danced by Indre Vengris (en pointe) and Matthew Linzer. He's built solidly; she's willowy. Together, they were like earth and air.

These refreshing new works, the solid older ones ("Rapture" and "For No Good Reason at All") and a fine cast of dancers demonstrated that Bowen McCauley Dance is (with, of course, the exception of the Washington Ballet) the area's premier dance company.

-- Pamela Squires