FOR OVER a decade, choreographer-dancer Martita Goshen has employed her artistic gifts to simultaneously celebrate and shed tears for endangered animals and lands.

Like composer Paul Winter -- whose music has accompanied her dances -- she addresses her subject in primarily non-literal ways; rather than imitate a wolf, sea turtle or whale, she strives to evoke their spirits through speed, buoyancy or stillness. She has danced on behalf of Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, the Animal Welfare Institute and other groups, and has devoted a good portion of her time preaching the environmental gospel to hundreds of schoolchildren around the country.

A diplomat's daughter, Goshen grew up in South America and Europe, and began training early on in ballet, sprinting and skiing. Her physical education came to an abrupt halt after a severe skiing accident. Even after surgery and a plastic knee replacement, it was 10 years before she could really dance again. By that time she had become quite a political activist, but an eye-to-eye encounter with a whale in San Diego Bay served as the impetus for her first environmentally concerned dance.

Saturday and Sunday at the Dance Place, Goshen and her small ensemble, Earthworks, perform her latest work, "Arktikos." Based on award-winning author Barry Lopez's Arctic Dreams, the piece attempts to create, by means of movement and music, the images of fragility and survival in the bleak Arctic landscape that Lopez describes in his book. MARTITA GOSHEN'S EARTHWORKS --

Saturday at 8:30, Sunday at 4 at the Dance Place, 3225 Eighth St. NE. 269-1600.