EVEN THOSE FOLKS who would rather floss their teeth than attend a dance concert often make an exception when it comes to The Paul Taylor Dance Company.

Why Taylor? First, his dances are accessible in the best sense of the word. Whether he's working in a humorous, melancholy, abstract, dramatic or surreal mode -- and he's done them all -- Taylor presents his ideas in the most structurally lucid and kinetically resonant way imaginable. His musical choices, which range from Bach to Varese to Muzak, are so apt that one can never again listen to these scores without the dances unfolding in the mind's eye.

Taylor is also a people-watcher, and a people-enthusiast. He chooses his company personnel not only for their technical and expressive skills (and they are indeed awesome) but for their individual qualities. Watching these dancers perform is rather like seeing a utopian society in motion. The men are big and burly, the women tall, short and in- between. All emanate a touching generosity and warmth, as well as a distinct lack of that "look-at-me!" style that turns so much dance into exhibition.

For their four-performance run at the Kennedy Center Opera House, the troupe presents the Washington premieres of "Byzantium," an eerie ritual of a dance; "Roses," a romantic ode to the music of Wagner; and "Last Look," in which Taylor presents a most disturbing (and virtuosic) vision of hell (or is it nuclear fallout? societal collapse?). Rounding out the two programs will be "Sunset," "Diggity" and the company's signature work, "Esplanade."

PAUL TAYLOR DANCE COMPANY -- Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 1:30 and 7:30 at the Kennedy Center Opera House.