"LIGHT FROM a New Torch" -- a modern dance tour currently crossing the continent on its way to Vancouver and Celebration '90: Gay Games III & Cultural Festival -- is showcasing the sensibilities and talents of gay and lesbian choreographers.

Organized and directed by Boston dancer Jeffrey Pike, the centerpiece of "Light" is the development of a "seed dance" -- a collaborative venture between artists from seven cities that accumulates and intensifies as the tour progresses. The focus of this piece is a broad one: basic relationships that nurture the human spirit and celebrate diversity. Yet the manner in which it is being built is unusual.

Pike and fellow Bostonian Marjorie Morgan began the dance and premiered it in their hometown. Now they've come to Washington, joined forces with local choreographer Alvin Mayes and are spending this week incorporating his movement ideas into the piece, as well as teaching the entire opus to Mayes and Washington dancers Abigail Stage and Brian McGahren. Then it's on to New York, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Seattle and Vancouver, with the "seed dance" growing in length, cast and substance until it has evolved into a full-evening extravaganza.

Mayes will also premiere his new "Eight Mile Road," a duet for himself and Derryl Thomas, which he says has its roots in posturing -- "the way men exhibit themselves on the streets of Detroit" -- but is also an essay on partnering, trust and friendship. Rounding out the program will be "Malafemmenna Cuddle," one of Remy Charlip's marvelous "Airmail Dances." Charlip choreographs by drawing human figures in motion; dancers later interpret the drawings as they see fit. In this case, Deborah Riley and Mary Beth Flournoy will bring his pictures to life.

MOST PEOPLE associate Rima Faber with kids, due to her stellar work as director of the Primary Movers, a dance troupe of elementary school children who perform an affecting brand of modern dance combining their dreams and ideas with Faber's craft. This funny, red-haired lady is also a gifted dancer who has recently turned her sights to adult choreography as well. The result of these labors, an evening of dances entitled "The Longest Race," will feature a "suburban housewife saga" called "The Coffee Clatch," another of Remy Charlip's "Airmail Dances" and the title piece. The cast includes three grown-ups and three children. The music is by local composer Teddy Klaus.