TUESDAY

Choreographer Lauren Slaiman left D.C. for the Merce Cunningham School of Dance in New York five years ago. She’s brought five pieces back home for her first full program, work she’s been honing at P.S. 122, the Soho Arts Festivals, and other downtown Manhattan venues. In Plunge (pictured), Slaiman and three other dancers in colorful bathing caps and swimsuits bound athletically through basic modern land with quick detours into Hollywood musicals. Push-ups and runners’ stretches give props to Gene Kelly, and West Side Story is there in the stylized fights and insolent finger-snapping. Eventually the dancers take the titular dive into Esther Williams’ pool, scissoring their limbs into flowers, stars, and the other shapes beloved by Busby Berkeley. It’s witty and populist, a fine excuse for declasse, crowd-pleasing unison dancing, and also alludes to that strangest of Olympic sports, synchronized swimming. Plunge is accompanied by percussionist Joshua Berger on Jew’s-harp, tone drum, and djimbe. In Hemp, the dancers mock-toke for the first seven minutes of Hemp for Victory, a 1942 pro-cannabis film. When the government-made film gets “technical and boring,” Slaiman says, the bell-bottomed performers do a “very relaxed release movement thing” to Berger’s thumb piano and wooden fish. Precipice is more narrative and includes a dancer stuffed entirely into a trunk except for her long blonde hair. Slaiman calls it her “performance art piece.” The prodigal dancer returns at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 11, and at 7 p.m. Sunday, July 12, at Dance Place, 3225 8th St. NE. $12. (202) 269-1600. (Virginia Vitzthum)