BECKET -- The dancers of Aspen Santa Fe Ballet seem almost as comfortable in acrobatic turns and loose-limbed falls as they are in soaring grand jetes and crisp fouettes. At Jacob's Pillow on Wednesday, the young troupe offered an intriguing look at two very different sides of the iconoclastic Twyla Tharp.
''Sinatra Suite" is adapted from the choreographer's familiar ''Nine Sinatra Songs." Katie Dehler and Seth DelGrasso gave an excellent performance of five dances to popular tunes by Ol' Blue Eyes that show Tharp at her most accessible, from the elegant ballroom stylings of ''Strangers in the Night" and ''All the Way," to the balletic ''My Way" and the comically feisty tusslings of ''That's Life." Only ''One for My Baby" looked a little too poised and controlled to be convincing. One suspects DelGrasso is a long way from fully appreciating the drunken weariness Sinatra invokes.
In contrast, Tharp's ''Sweet Fields," costumed in white and set in part to a series of Shaker hymns, is the choreographer at her most understated. Quiet, ritualistic, even somber in spots, it has a reverential quality unusual in her canon. Arms cross the chest, raise to the sky, or lower to the floor in homage. There is an earthbound quality to the deep lunges and skimming footwork that carries the group into alluring floor patterns.
At one point, five men take turns carrying one another above their heads, like a bier slowly making its way across the stage. There is an occasional underlying joy and playfulness, but it is restrained. Only toward the end do the dancers threaten to break the facade of gentility, with a saucy little wiggle here or a jazzy heel/toe there. Though ''Sweet Fields"doesn't highlight the dancers' strengths that effectively, it's a pleasure to see this gentle, rarely performed work, which the Pillow specially requested.
Nicolo Fonte's ''Left Unsaid" is a terrific showcase for Aspen Santa Fe Ballet. It features the cool, tensile athleticism for which the company is known. Set to a Bach partita for solo violin, the sextet unfolds as a swirl of connections and dissolutions. Sinuous without being the least seductive, it is characterized by fluid exchanges of weight -- a pull that falls into a luxurious lean that prompts a push sending a dancer spiraling away. Slow, controlled extensions test the body's gravity, maintaining a clarity of line or deliberately defying it with a hip swiveled off center, a foot turned inward, a torso cocked awry.
The opening duet is striking, with the dancers posing on and around two starkly lit chairs, playing with speed and dynamics. But at the heart is an exquisite push/pull duet between David Barbour and Dehler that offers the only hint of emotional connection in the piece. Perched on chairs that are gradually moved closer together, they make repeated forays toward one another, their couplings fraught with both urgency and ambiguity.
Sam Chittenden gave a striking, committed performance of Thierry Malandain's ''L'Apres-midi d'un Faune," but it's an odd interpretation of the Debussy score. With numerous allusions to Nijinsky's landmark dance, but cast amid a giant tissue box and two bath scrubbers, it was too irreverent to be homage but not nearly funny enough to be spoof.