Two women sway and swivel, their feet firmly planted on the stage, and even as they accelerate -- arms pumping at a jogger's pace -- their feet remain rooted to the stage at GALA Theatre-Tivoli. In Jane Jerardi's world premiere of "Efficiency" Saturday night, the Washington choreographer's theme quickly emerged: Everyone seems to be running but getting nowhere.
That stuck feeling came up frequently in Jerardi's evening of choreography. Her art tests expectations. In recent years she explored site-specific projects, collaborations with visual and multimedia artists and improvised performances. While evidence of all these elements came together at the Tivoli, something was lost in transporting Jerardi's conceptual ideas to a traditional proscenium stage space.
"Efficiency," danced by Jerardi, Nicholette Routhier and Brian Buck, with video projections by Michael Wichita and a score of industrial and collected sounds by British experimental composer Scanner (Robin Rimbaud), drew on gestural suggestions -- shrugs, head tilts, finger twitches -- as well as walking paths. But these three dancers in their best postmodern deconstructive mode appeared disconnected from one another, the video and the music. The result was slight and unfulfilling.
The evening also included an inscrutable live-media collaboration, "Heaven and Hell," from computer sound artist Stephen Vitiello and video artist Patrick Power.
The performance began with "Spill #2," which featured Jonathan Matis's recorded conversations playing in the lobby for entering patrons, while in the theater dancer Ginger Wagg draped herself over the balcony alongside yards of crocheted scarves by sculptor Agata Olek. Wagg, initially little noticed above the audience, improvised through tentative and stolid stances, finishing just as a giant weaving oozed across the stage.
-- Lisa Traiger