Of all the major figures working in dance today, Paul Taylor may be the hardest to pin down: He hasn't the codified technique of a Cunningham or Graham, nor does he focus on one particular theme, or look, or mood.
This elusiveness, in fact, is one of the main ingredients in his exquisite dances; his humor is sly and shady, his steps seamless chains of running, leaping, rolling, standing still, that defy category. Though the dancers seem to establish relationships, many of these works are left vague and happily open to each spectator's interpretation.
Still, there are definite givens to any performance of the Paul Taylor Dance Company. The dancers move like the wind, like gazelles, like liquid sculptures, and at the same time they strike one as a bunch of uncommonly nice human beings. The men are all big, the women either very tall or very short. Taylor is often quoted as saying that the individual quality of each member of his troupe matters most to him; watch them dance and you can't help but believe him.
One can also count on each program to include a "classical" dance, usually to music of the baroque era, that points up the choreographer's absolute command of structure, design and phrasing. Also expect the bizarre: men and women in black veils and multi- colored tennis shoes waiting in line to a Muzak score, or a woman in a floor-length, ruffled orange hoop skirt flailing and signaling like some deranged seer. Whatever the image or step, expect it to be done with taste, imagination and more than a touch of loopy wit. P.S. PAUL TAYLOR DANCE COMPANY -- Friday and Saturday at 7:30; matinees Saturday at 2 and Sunday at 1, at the Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater. Call 857-0900 or 254-3670.