TO EXPERIENCE the work of choreographer/composer Laura Dean is to enter a world of kinesthetic wonders. While her dances unfold in formal patterns and geometric configurations, they are anything but soulless. Rhythm is the reason.

Dean, who uses repetitive movement and sound to mesmerizing effect, sets her dancers stamping, leaping and spinning for long stretches of time to the most propulsive scores imaginable. While their legs and feet sustain the beat, the performers use their upper bodies in freer, curvaceous ways, often reminiscent of T'ai Chi and other Eastern forms of movement.

Though ultra-specific stylistically, Dean's work is now performed by not only her own ensemble, but also such companies as John Curry's ice-dancing troupe, the Joffrey Ballet and the Ohio Ballet.

This weekend, Dean's art will be showased in two of Washington's major theatrical houses. Friday and Saturday night at the Warner Theater, District Curators will present the Laura Dean Dancers and Musicians in a program of three works, all Washington premieres: "Impact," to a new score by Steve Reich; "Transformer," to a score composed and recorded by Anthony Davis; and "Skylight," with music by Dean herself.

Sunday afternoon at the Kennedy Center Opera House, the Joffrey Ballet will perform Dean's "Force Field," also a Washington premiere, set to Reich's hypnotic "Six Pianos." This is the third ballet that Dean has created for the Joffrey, a company committed to both new work and to reconstructions of 20th-century classics.

LAURA DEAN DANCERS & MUSICIANS -- Friday and Saturday at 8, Warner Theater, 13th and E streets NW. Tickets $18 and $12. Call 783-0360.

THE JOFFREY BALLET -- At the Kennedy Center Opera House through Sunday; performing Dean's "Foce Field" Sunday at 1:30.