especially in dance -- is probably the most immediately accessible and evocative of constructs. The sight of two people dancing together calls up distinctly personal situations and relationships, whether it's a school prom, an illicit encounter or a spontaneous frolic between friends.

Local dancers Helen Rea and Don Zuckerman, known collectively as Duets, Etc . . . , are constantly on the lookout for duets that set people moving with, against or alongside one another in the most demanding and unexpected ways. Remarkably controlled and fluid performers, they have built a repertoire of great invention, variety and emotional range.

Their program this weekend at the Dance Place will be highlighted by the duo's first performances of Japanese choreographer Kei Takei's "Pine Cone Field," as well as Victoria Marks' "Anatomy of a Triangle," a trio that incorporates filmed and live performance. "Pine Cone Field," alternately funny and touching, follows two stolid peasants through a cycle of courtship, work and aging. By contrast, Marks' work takes place in a contemporary, edgy world of romantic attachments, deceptions and desertions, with the emotional turbulence emanating from an incessant bout of wrangling, risk-filled movement.

Sally Nash's study in role reversal, "A Portrait," plus two solos -- excerpts from Liz Lerman's "Nine Short Dances About the Defense Budget and Other Military Matters" and Nancy Galeota's "Motor Series: Who Am I?" -- complete the program.

DUETS, ETC . . . -- Friday and Saturday at 8:30, Sunday at 5 at The Dance Place, 242 18th St. NW. Tickets $7, $6 for students and seniors. Call 462-1321.