THE FIRST THING you notice about the choreography of young New Yorker Mark Taylor is its absolute fluidity.

His dances share something with the piano compositions of Chopin and Liszt; they spew forth in breathtaking cascades. Form definitely has an edge over substance, but this is not to say that passion doesn't boil close to the surface.

Taylor, who danced in the equally musical modern companies of Hannah Kahn and Rosalind Newman, has been presenting his own work for nine years. From the start, he exhibited a gift for merging social and historical movement with a more contemporary, athletic style. His pulsing group piece, "Batacuda," is based on traditional samba steps and rhythms. "From the Archives: Social Dances (Vol. XXI), The Tango" employs the controlled yet sensual tango form as a metaphor for the battle of the sexes. "Uneven Sentiment" makes use of folk steps and schmaltzy Neapolitan love songs to chronicle melodrama in all its affecting and amusing guises.

The first and last of these dances, together with the very urban "Precinct," the ornamental "Ups and Downs in the Roccoco," and the new solo "Throb," make up this weekend's program.

Taylor's understanding of movement has also resulted in his gathering a band of virtuosic performers. Washington dance enthusiasts will recognize the marvelously intense Mary Williford, but all seven are fiendishly good at what they do.


Saturday at 8:30 p.m., Sunday at 4 p.m. at The Dance Place, 3225 Eighth St. NE. Tickets $11, $7.50 students/seniors. Call 269-1600.