Let's be honest: Unabashed idea theft is responsible for some of the best art of our time. From Jesus Christ Superstar to best-sellers like Ahab's Wife, giving an old tale a new twist has evolved into an art form all its own. Unless, that is, you happen to be a modern dance choreographer. A stubborn hold-out, this genre hell-bent since the days of Isadora Duncan on going where no one has gone before still lavishes highest points on originality. Content to be slaves to innovation no longer, local dance duo spoon (Jane Schnorrenberg and Kegan Marling) takes on the dogged tradition in a program of new work, "Filaments and Derivatives", shared with Katie Faulkner's buzz-making little seismic dance company. Blatantly ripping off material from London multimedia rogue Nigel Charnock of DV8 fame, as well as Bay Area favorites Della Davidson and Randee Paufve, spoon employs its squirrel-like mischievousness to investigate directions these choreographers might have taken instead. Meanwhile, little seismic, whose first home season in 2006 left S.F. dance critics smitten, stages a rework of its own Imprint alongside two premieres. A master at abstracting everyday gestures into tender, neurotic things of beauty, Faulkner creates movement that emerges like watercolor on canvas, unexpectedly funny one moment and heartbreaking the next. Also on the bill is a new dance film created in collaboration with filmmaker and animator Benjamin Goldman of Lemony Snicket repute.
As savvy in mind as in movement, both companies have earned their reputations for delightfully subtle, droll, and dare we say it highly original dancemaking.
Jan. 18-20, 8 p.m., 2008