It was a weekend for whimsy, so far as local and visiting dance and mime troupes were concerned.

At the Washington Project for the Arts, three dancer-choreographers from American University - Jill Becker, Sybil Davis and Carol Boggs - presented a joint program of their works. Most of them tripped the fantastic lightly, though there were sober sidelights here and there as well.

There were eight short pieces in all. The notable thing about them as a group was that in the face of structural shortcomings and stylistic cliches, each one had its own bright conceptual spark, developed in each case with a certain brassy and appealing impertinence.

I particularly relished Becker's "Voicedance," which looked like setting-up exercises at a Martian zoo and had vocal mewlings to match; Bogg's opus a pictorial doodle takes the place of a title), with its loping movement and gracefully canonic echoes; Davis' "While Walking Through Archbold Glover Park," which hurls formal dance and impromptu sport into droll confrontation, and "Bent Boots Sweat" by Becker and Billy Yehle, which changes footgear in midstream from boots to sneakers as part of its cartoonish action. The other works had their engaging moments, but tended to stretch a single small notion to insupportable length.