DANCING WITH A LASER beam is no easy matter. That's what choreographer Maida Withers and the eight other members of the Dance Construction Co. have discovered during their six-month collaboration with laser artist Rockne Krebs.

For starters, you can't always see the beam, even when your hand or leg is passing directly through it. Then there's the "intensity" factor, requiring the dancers to wear protective clothing and goggles. To make things even more challenging, the goggles affect depth perception and the ability to pick up green and blue hues.

These hardships, though, are more than worth it when the result is a work like "Laser Dance." The evening-length piece, which will be performed Friday night at Lisner Auditorium, combines technology and movement in complex and often wondrous ways. Krebs' beautiful green argon laser beams reflect off a number of mirrors, creating a constantly changing "sculpture" through which the dancers cavort, both on foot and on stilts. Accompanying this wealth of visual stimuli is composer Bob Boilen's dramatically pulsing score, a mix of taped passages performed on digital synthesizer and live contributions by Boilen and ex-Urban Verbs member Robert Goldstein.

It all makes for one of the more ambitious and original homegrown arts events in this city's recent past.

LASER DANCE -- Friday at 8 at Lisner Auditorium, 21st and H streets NW. Tickets $10-$18. Call 783-0360.