Compulsively grasping, twitching, jumping, bending or palm-pounding -- in essence, responding to each other -- Anne and Jeff Grimaldo have created a vivid evocation of what it is to truly be in one's body. The occasion is "Run for Your Life!," which opened Thursday as their locally based Naked With Shoes, founded in 1993, made a welcome return to Highways Performance Space in Santa Monica.
The husband-and-wife duo, who have performed with postmodern icon Rudy Perez for the last several years, continue to make the most of their mismatched heights. Sometimes, the statuesque Anne can be found with the diminutive Jeff wrapped around her waist. At others, he hoists her on his back or side, one of her Rockette-worthy legs pointing skyward, in images that seem to reveal the soul of trust.
With the addition of savvy musical choices and assorted pedestrian moves -- walking, running, weight-shifting -- this choreography, familiar but fresh, breathes.
The premiere of the triptych "Fear of Meat" opened with "DNR (Do Not Resuscitate)," in which the Grimaldos were joined by guest artists Michael Vincent Carrera, Hugo Garcia and Janine Venable, who recited snippets of narrative concerning bones, ribs, a black cleaning lady and how to cook a pork loin.
A kind of disco butoh ensued as the quintet huddled together, each performer moving in quarter-turns to a percussive track before changing patterns during quick blackouts. The work exploded when the Grimaldos, flailing to Prokofiev in a fit of heebie-jeebies, literally shook off their clothes, in an eminently watchable rag-doll duet
In "Necrotizing Fasciitis," set to the pulsing strings of Gorecki, the pair, their arms adorned in spider-like netting, became skin-shedding creatures animated by jerky moves one moment, undulating upper torsos the next.
"Carcass," to Bach, opened with the couple -- she a porcelain-skinned '30s goddess in a slip, he shirtless in trunks -- doubled over with faux laughter. Then each seemed to fight off invisible demons. Finally, Anne lovingly ran her hand over Jeff's face: a hard-won peace.
Not very compelling monologues by the trio completed the program. More Grimaldo gyrations would have been better.
Naked With Shoes
Where: Highways Performance Space, 1651 18th St., Santa Monica
When: 8:30 tonight
Price: $15 and $20
Contact: (310) 315-1459