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Through a collection of speech and movement dialects, Vital Sign explores the role of language in dance and human experience. Artistic director Kim Hofe has developed a new dance vocabulary. Based in modern dance and occasionally bordering on the athletic, her style alternates intensely active movement with stillness and precise poses. American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation of textual and narrative elements, from Emily Dickinson to Pink Floyd, serves practical and artistic purposes within the choreography as well as to unify deaf and hearing audiences. Pieces on the program incorporate ASL and spoken English to present concepts about confrontation between deaf and hearing cultures and barriers beyond language, as well as the stories of young runaways and a tribute to Jackie Robinson. Choreographer Victoria Francese’s work communicates in a more abstract and balletic mode. Accompanied live by musician Kevin Cimino, the company makes its Washington debut this weekend, at 8 p.m. tonight and 7 p.m. Sunday at Dance Place, 3225 8th St. NE. $12. (202) 269-1600. (Karen Mitchell)