Spectrum Dance Theater was founded in 1982 and grew steadily over the ensuing two decades, until, in 2002, renowned choreographer Donald Byrd became its artistic director. As the thinking (wo)man’s choreographer, Byrd headed his own company, Donald Byrd/The Group from 1976 until he took over SDT, creating over 80 pieces of choreography for not only his own company, but also Alvin Ailey, the Dayton Contemporary Dance Group, Philadanco, Joffrey Ballet, and more. His work has been commissioned for theater and opera companies, including the NY Shakespeare Festival/Public Theater and the New York City Opera.
Byrd’s mission is “to have dance and the arts be considered part of the solution to the challenges facing our communities” and his work with SDT demonstrates his desire to create provocative themes that make us think. This is especially obvious in Byrd’s full-length works incorporated in Beyond Dance: Promoting Awareness and Mutual Understanding where he tackles the relationship between Israel and Palestine, the U.S. and China, and contemporary Africa and its roots.
Always attuned to the cultural and social temperature of the day, SDT’s non-linear commentary is expressed through a powerful and poetic physicality, transmitting an intelligence that incites the emotions. As Byrd so eloquently says, the choreography is designed to make you listen to the thoughts that are provoked by the movement, and this is one of the ways that a SDT performance inspires and engages audiences.
SDT performs throughout the U.S. and Europe and maintains an ongoing series at the Madrona Dance Studios in Seattle. The company also collaborates with many local arts organizations such as the Moore Theatre, the 5th Ave Theatre, the Seattle Men’s Chorus, the Seattle Art Museum, and the Seattle Opera.
- Michele Kadison
Spectrum Dance Theater Information
- Public Transportation: Poor
- Handicapped Accessibility: Good
- Performances/Programs: Wide variety of performances, classes, and workshops
- Ticket Prices: $25 for performances. Prices vary for classes and workshops
- Membership: There is no annual membership program. All individual donors will appear in program listings.