WHEN the D.C. Contemporary Dance Theater was established a year and a half ago, director Miya Hisaka pledged to provide a professional platform for local talent. That commitment has already begun to pay off.

By far the most impressive things about the theater members are the quality and verve of their dancing. Eleven strong, they project good times, youth and a very natural stage camaraderie. At times they remind a viewer of the whiz kids on "Fame"; the fact that many of them graduated from Duke Ellington High School of the Performing Arts may explain why they come across that way. There's also a bit of the Alvin Ailey/Bucket Dance Theater look about them -- they're multi-ethnic and they favor a repertoire that leapfrogs from jazz to ballet to modern and back again.

For their performances this weekend at the Dance Place, they've put together a program that showcases works of their own choreographers. Lead female dancer Katherine Smith will premiere her "Phoenix," and resident choreographer Adrain Bolton will be represented by a new solo, the duet "Just for a While" and "L'Histoire," an ensemble number that combines elements of Afro-Caribbean, modern and jazz movement in one spicy stew. Rounding things out will be New York choreographer Rod Rodgers' "Intervals" and Jason Taylor's Broadway-influenced "Rainbow."

D.C. CONTEMPORARY DANCE THEATER -- Saturday and Sunday at 8:30, The Dance Place, 2424 18th St. NW. Tickets $6 and $7. Call 462-1321 or 797-7616.