The Seattle-based company performs with such superb style and virtuoso technique, however, that the dancers' artistry sometimes compensated for the program's choreographic unevenness. It was the deep emotionality that principal dancer Carla Körbes brought to Liang's "Für Alina" that made us pay attention to the monotonous pas de deux. And it was out of respect for the gorgeous movement qualities of dancer James Moore that we carefully watched him tickle his armpit, shake his toes, and repeatedly caress his neck in the ridiculous Goecke piece.
It was in Millepied's "3 Movements," set to a propulsive Steve Reich score, that the dancers looked most at home. The choreographer sets forth intriguingly unrelated movement motifs: jogging, angular body shapes, dizzying multiple pirouettes, weight-sharing contact work. He piques our interest in how the material will evolve. It doesn't. It's repeated, reorganized, and reconfigured but never significantly developed. Nonetheless, the overall effect proves pleasantly invigorating.
Tharp's impressively crafted "Opus 111," set to a Brahms string quintet, sends six couples romping through complex fusions of ballet, folk, modern, and ballroom maneuvers. A whirlwind of intricate actions, in which balletic sensibilities are subsumed within larger choreographic impulses, the piece might have fared better if rendered with greater courage and less elegance.
Presented by the Joyce Theater Foundation in association with Pacific Northwest Ballet at the Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Ave., NYC. Jan. 5–10. Tue. and Wed., 7:30 p.m.; Thu.–Sat., 8 p.m.; Sat. and Sun., 2 p.m. (212) 242-0800 or www.joyce.org.