IF YOU'RE ONE of those people scared off at the first mention of "modern" or, heaven forbid, "postmodern" dance, go see what choreographer Marta Renzi is up to. For starters, she's funny. Also thoroughly down- to-earth, red-haired, partial to high-topped sneakers and equally at home with the music of Bruce Springsteen, Mozart or Otis Redding.

Her dances often portray very real and complex relationships, replete with struggle, squabbling, tenderness and sexual sparks. The four performers who join her onstage possess a genuine quality as well. They move beautifully, but there's an honesty and humanity about them that sets one to thinking: Hey! These dancers are people, too!

Renzi, who makes her home in New York, has in previous appearances here proven to be a favorite with Washington audiences. Local artists fnd her work so accessible and well- crafted that some have taken several of the choreographer's dances into their own repertoires.

This weekend at the Dance Place, Renzi and company will perform four pieces: "Artichoke for Two," a sporty, affectionate duet; the sensuous, slowly unfolding "On Looking Through a Book of Indian Miniatures"; "Between the Lines"; and "In the Dark," for the entire ensemble.

MARTA RENZI AND DANCERS -- Friday and Saturday at 8:30 at The Dance Place, 2424 l8th Street NW. Tickets $7, $6 for students and seniors. Call 462-1321.