This weekend offers four stand-out dance events, two of them imports, two local. Each is quite different from the others. The only trouble is: how to choose among them?
For the ballet fan, there are two options:
* The ever-youthful, historically aware JOFFREY BALLET, which arrived at the Kennedy Center Opera House this week, performs an erratic variety of classics, pop ballets and experimental work. The Friday- Sunday performance schedule includes Kurt Jooss' "The Green Table," a landmark anti- war statement that focuses on a gathering of military men and features a chilling personification of Death; "Fire" and "Night," two bold, ritualistic works full of spinning and martial-arts movement by postmodernist Laura Dean; Sir Frederick Ashton's "Illuminations," a dreamlike ode to the poet Rimbaud, with a score by Benjamin Britten; and "Offenbach in the Underworld," a wise and witty study of late 19th-century Parisian cafe society by the master of incisive dramatic ballet, Antony Tudor.
* Just back from a tour of New England, the WASHINGTON BALLET offers two programs at Lisner Auditorium, both of which feature a new work by assistant artistic director Choo San Goh entitled "Scenic Invitations," and his "Due Pezzi Sacri," originally created for the Boston Ballet to parts of Giuseppe Verdi's "Four Sacred Pieces." The company's Saturday performances also include George Balanchine's 1956 masterwork "Allegro Brilliante," set to the lone movement of Tchaikovsky's unfinished Third Piano Concerto.
* POLA NIRENSKA is one of Washington's choreographic treasures, a septuagenarian who came out of retirement last March and offered some of this city's finest dancers a chance to learn and perform her stark, gripping works. A native of Poland, Nirenska studied and danced with the great German artist Mary Wigman before World War II, and after settling in this country, with modern-dance pioneers Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman. This Saturday and Sunday at the Dance Place, eight women -- Rima Wolf, Liz Lerman, Cathy Paine, Jan Tievsky, Betsy Eagan, Sue Hannen, Colette Yglesias and Diane Floyd -- present four new solos and five other works by Nirenska that promise to be compelling in terms of characterization, movement, musicality and design.
* And over at Baird Auditorium, two astounding jazz hoofers, JIMMY SLYDE and STEVE CONDOS, will be battering the floor with improvised cascades of tap magic. Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, the tappers will trade rhythms with a quartet that includes bebop piano master Barry Harris, trombonist Slide Hampton, drummer Grady Tate and bass player Keter Betts. In conjunction with these performances, two additional events have been planned: The Feet First Tap Dance Studio offers a tap workshop with Slyde and Condos Friday evening at Bethesda Chevy Chase High School, and Smithsonian Performing Arts plans a free lecture/demonstration Sunday at noon, including a film on great tapper Baby Laurence as well as a capsule course on improvisation by Slyde and Condos. JOFFREY BALLET -- Kennedy Center Opera House. Friday, February 25 and Saturday, February 26 at 8; Saturday at 2; Sunday at 1:30. Tickets $12.50 to $27. WASHINGTON BALLET -- Lisner Auditorium, 21st and H streets NW. Friday at 8, Saturday at 2 and 8. Tickets $7.50-$10. "One-Dollar Ticket" general admission policy one hour before showtime at Lisner box office. Call 362-4644. CHOREOGRAPHY BY POLA NIRENSKA -- Saturday and Sunday at 8. The Dance Place, 2424 l8th Street NW. Tickets $6, $5 students and seniors. Call 462- 1321. JAZZ TAP MASTERS -- Baird Auditorium, National Museum of Natural History, 10th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Saturday at 8, Sunday at 3. Tickets $8.50, $5 for students, seniors and groups of more than 20. LECTURE/DEMO -- Baird Auditorium, Sunday at noon. Free. Call 357-1500. JAZZ TAP WORKSHOP -- Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School Auxiliary Gymnasium, 4301 East-West Highway, Bethesda. Friday from 5:00-6:30 (Slyde) and 6:30-8 (Condos). $8 per session, $2 to observe. Reservations required. Call 652-7658.