For 50 years, Paul Taylor has been a leading light in modern dance. His choreography, lauded by critics for its originality and passion, first enthralled audiences in Manhattan in 1954. Since then, the dance works created by Taylor and presented by his eponymously named company have been widely viewed as some the most influential pieces of the form.

Taylor grew up in the Washington area, living at various times in the Brighton apartments on California Street near the National Zoo (where he said he used to chase peacocks and loved the snake house), the Barcroft neighborhood in Arlington, Bethesda and Edgewater beach in Annapolis.

On Saturday night at Reston's CenterStage, Taylor 2, the touring company of young dancers that he formed in 1993 as a smaller, companion troupe to his main ensemble, will celebrate the iconic choreographer's semicentennial with performances of three of his classic dances.

In 1991's "Company B," set to World War II-era pop songs of the Andrews Sisters, the dancers find love and endure loss and sorrow as conflict rages around them. "Esplanade," from 1975, is based on the notion that simple movements such as running, walking and falling can be used to express a range of complex thoughts and ideas. In "Runes," which also debuted in 1975, the dancers perform a ritual of death and rebirth in a nebulous primeval setting.

-- C. WOODROW IRVIN

CenterStage is in the Reston Community Center, 2310 Colts Neck Rd. Tickets are $10. The performance is suitable for children 9 and older, according to the center. To purchase tickets or for more information, call 703-476-4500 or go to www.restoncommunitycenter.com/documents/Theatreorderform.pdf and fax the form to 703-476-8617. More information on Taylor 2 and Paul Taylor is available at www.ptdc.org.

Jared Wootan and Michelle Fleet of Taylor 2 perform in "Esplanade."