Seattle’s Spectrum Dance Theater will present a public lecture and demonstration on the Western Washington University Performing Arts Center Mainstage at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct.24.
The presentation, which reveals insights into the creation and intentions of “SHOT” – a work by Spectrum’s award-winning artistic director, Donald Byrd, is free and open to the public.
“It is now commonplace for family members, friends, and bystanders using their cell phone cameras to capture shootings and others acts, characterized as brutality, by police,” Byrd said. “Grainy images of questionable police behavior, spread through social media, have led to nationwide protests, federal investigations, changes in policy and possibly rethinking or reevaluations of one’s attitudes on race…regardless, of their actions or how they have been characterized by police, the media and others, the unarmed black men and women who have been killed by police leave behind family and people who loved them. I do not want to forget that.”
Byrd, a Tony-nominated (“The Color Purple”) and Bessie Award-winning (“The Minstrel Show”) choreographer, became artistic director of Spectrum Dance Theater in December 2002. From 1978 – 2002, he was artistic director of Donald Byrd/The Group, a critically-acclaimed contemporary dance company, founded in Los Angeles and later based in New York. He has created over 100 modern and contemporary dance works for his own groups as well as for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, and Philadelphia Dance Company (Philadanco), among others; has choreographed for classical companies, including Pacific Northwest Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet, Dance Theater of Harlem, Aterballetto, MaggioDanza diFirenze, and Oregon Ballet Theater.
Byrd’s non-dance company work has been with some of the most prestigious theater and opera companies in the U.S., including The New York Shakespeare Festival/Public Theater, La Jolla Playhouse, the Intiman Theater, Center Stage, San Francisco Opera, Seattle Opera and New York City Opera. He counts among his numerous collaborators an eclectic mix of distinguished artists including Peter Sellars, Anna Deveare Smith, and the late Max Roach.
The Oct. 24 public lecture-demonstration is part of a weeklong residency with Spectrum Dance Theater hosted by the WWU Dance program. Spectrum company members will teach technique classes, and dance students will opportunities to observe Spectrum classes and rehearsals.
Spectrum Dance Theater was founded in 1982 to “bring dance of the highest merit to a diverse audience composed of people from different social, cultural, ethnic and economic backgrounds.” The principal objective of the company is to make the art form of dance accessible through contemporary dance performances and high-quality training in a variety of dance styles.
For more information about the Oct. 24 presentation, including directions, parking, and disability accommodation, contact the WWU College of Fine and Performing Arts at 360-650-2829, or visit cfpa.wwu.edu/go.