Reviews and Press

2016/17 Season

Austin Tour (Rambunctious 1.0 + New Commission)

Austin Chronicle: The company’s program, with a new work inspired by the 1966 UT Tower shooting, spoke powerfully to our present moment

2015/16 Season


Crosscut: A conversation about race, inspired by dance

KUOW: Seattle’s Art Scene Wants To Be Less White

Seattle Magazine: Donald Byrd on Race Disruption and Dance

Seattle Times: ’#RACEish’: Spectrum’s 2016 season has black heritage and headlines on its mind

The Stranger: How to #StopErasingBlackPeople in the Arts, Starting Tonight in Seattle

Rambunctious 2.0

Seattle Dances:  No Longer Invisible in Rambunctious 2.0

The Washington Post: A grand duo in Seattle’s Spectrum Dance Theater and Attacca Quartet

Dance, Dance, Dance

City Arts: The Art of Confrontation

Seattle Dances: Spectrum and the Africanist Aesthetic

A Rap on Race

Seattle Times: Dancing to James Baldwin and Margaret Mead in the roiling ‘A Rap on Race’

The Globalist:  Spectrum’s #RACEish series talks about blackness through dance

Seattle Dances: Not All Talk at A Rap on Race

Seattle Gay News: Spectrum Dance Theater presents A Rap on Race – a groudbreaking new work

The Stranger: Racial Drama Onstage and Racial Tension Backstage at Seattle Rep

The Minstrel Show Revisited

Broadway World:

QueenAnne & Magnolia News: Byrd hopes ‘The Minstrel Show Revisited’ will be start of bigger dialogue.

The New Yorker: Tap Routine


Previous Seasons:

Koresh Come Together Festival Come Together Festival, the best of local and national dance

Contemporary Masters, Steps on Broadway

Perseverance is the Name of the Game


Seattle International Dance Festival

Seattle Times: ‘SIDF Finale Promises Prowess, Wizardry’

Seattle Dances:  ’Dancers Shine Bright in SIDF Final Program’

Looking Forward to the Past: Dance Motion USA in Bangladesh

The Daily Star: An Inter-cultural Dance Treat

Prothom Alo: A Blend of Two Worlds

New Age: Dance Production Combines South Asian and Western Elements

Jaki Independent: US Based Spectrum Dance Theater Enthralls Dhaka Audience


Carmina Burana, World Premiere

City Arts: Donald Byrd Rethinks ‘Carmina Burana’

Seattle Dances: Byrd Reframes ‘Carmina Burana’

KUOW: Grandiose ‘Carmina Burana’ Inspires Seattle Dance

Seattle Times: Spectrum’s ‘Carmina Burana’ blends virtuosic vocals and dance

Seattle Magazine: (Preview) Seattle Choreographer Stages a Fresh Take on ‘Carmina Burana’

And Another Thing: Joy, Redemption and Sacred Spaces

Seattle Gay News: Spectrum Dance Theater’s ‘Carmina Burana’ was fantastic and as good as anything I’ve seen in many seasons of attending both dance and opera


Carmina Burana Workshop, One of Seattle Weekly’s Favorite Arts Moments of 2014

Seattle Weekly


Septet & Euclidean Space, SummerStage August 2014

The New York Times: ”‘Septet’ is set to a difficult modernist string quartet by Charles Wuorinen, and Mr. Byrd is attuned to both the music’s form and to its agitation. His choreography has a complementary structural logic.”


Rambunctious: A Festival of American Composers & Dance, May 2014

The Seattle Times:

“Donald Byrd struck a balance between playful formality and passionate conviction that brought the audience to its feet.”

“Spectrum…showed us again how contemporary dance, especially when paired with great live music, can be one of the most exciting of art forms.”

Critical Dance: “Not only was there excellent choreography that was well conceived and developed but it was also superbly danced by a highly trained cadre of dancers, and importantly, accompanied live by the Simple Measures quartet.”


The Minstrel Show Revisited, February 2014

Seattle Times: “Spectrum’s vivid, volatile ‘Minstrel Show’ hits its mark”

City Arts Magazine: “Equal Opportunity Racism in ‘The Minstrel Show Revisited”

SeattleDances: “Spectrum Unpacks Racism”

Crosscut (Preview): “How Trayvon Martin brought a dance work back to new life in Seattle”

KUOW (Preview): “Choreographer Uses Blackface To Confront Racial Attitudes Past And Present”

SeattleDances (Preview): “Minstrel Show Update Revisits Race Conversation”

Seattle Times (Preview): “Donald Byrd’s ‘Minstrel Show’ tackles touchy racial history”

Seattle Weekly (Preview): “Spring Arts: The Button-Pusher, Donald Byrd”


Pacific Northwest Magazine Profile of Donald Byrd

Seattle Times, 12/2/2012:  ”Spectrum’s Donald Byrd asks everything of his dancers, and his audience” (Photo by Ben Benschneider, right, from


WEVERS / SPAETH / BYRD – Studio Series

Seattle Times: “Trio of treats from Spectrum Dance Theater”

Crosscut: “Spectrum Dance mixes program to strong effect”

Seattle Weekly: “Stage: Spectrum Dance Theater”

SeattleDances: “Fall Studio Series at Spectrum”

TheSunBreak: “Wevers/Spaeth/Byrd Dance Bill Closes a Sold-Out Run at Spectrum”


The Theater of Needless Talents

Seattle Times: “Spectrum has a number of brilliant new dancers taking on the piece for the first time, and Byrd has subtly tightened the show and sharpened its focus. Those two factors make this revival of “Talents,” which has been touring the country this fall, a must-see. The live music — especially pianist Judith Cohen, tapping into both the jaunty and shadowy sides of Schulhoff’s jazz-tinged scores — is another big draw.”

The Sunbreak: “Byrd has used dance to find the extremes in music; here, the music is in extremis, and his choreography, often tender.”

CityArts: “The Theater of Needless Talents… is quintessential Byrd—complex, deeply meaningful and emotionally complicated. Many of dancers are new, to both the company and the piece, but they rise of the occasion, proving their ability to be labeled one of “Donald’s dancers,” and infuse Talents with the challenging skill and emotion required of the work.”

Seattle Dances: “A hugely important work, Needless Talents examines the Holocaust through a unique lens. It compels the audience to remember the atrocities that were, and also to confront the reality of the ones that still exist. More than anything, it portrays the human spirit, its resiliency and perseverance, and the role art plays in this resolve.”

Austin Chronicle: “Creativity in the Face of Death: The Contemporary Resonance of Terezin”


Recent Features

CityArts: “All this Purposefull Movement

“Donald Byrd is the provocative choreographer at the helm of Spectrum Dance Theater whose decorated history includes work with legends such as Twyla Tharp and Alvin Ailey. Olivier Wevers is former principal ballet dancer for Pacific Northwest Ballet and the choreographer behind the breakout local company Whim W’Him. The two sat down to talk about mentorship, movement and the impossibility of perfection.” Read more at CityArts…

Seattle Times: “Spectrum’s dazzling new dancers: Jade Solomon Curtis and Donald Jones Jr.”

“Newcomers to Seattle’s Spectrum Dance Theater, Jade Solomon Curtis and Donald Jones Jr., make a big impression their first year here.” Read more at Seattle Times…

Seattle Magazine: “Choreographer Donald Byrd is Flying High This Season”

“Donald Byrd is staging an intervention. Seattle’s renowned contemporary dance choreographer is unsettled by America’s craving for the “mythologized,” candy-coated version of love portrayed in popular movies (see: the re-release of Titanic in 3-D this month) and he wants to help curb our addiction.

“I think it gets us into trouble in the real world,” Byrd explains. “People internalizing these romantic notions about love…they think that it’s something to be pursued above all things. It’s not.”  Read more at Seattle Magazine…



Seattle Times: “…there are no weak links in this production. Byrd… has pared things down here to the purest possible match of movement with music. The result is a work of stunning beauty.”

CityArts Magazine: “Even at its most abstract and visually impressive, the choreography has intention…. Every dancer in the company was spellbinding—full of elegance and technique and deep emotional response… Byrd’s choreography lives up to his legend.”

Seattle Magazine: “Love is an ongoing competition between pain and pleasure; between reason and impulse. It’s a tangled, confusing, sexy mess – right up until the final heartbreaking image…”

Seattle Weekly: “Byrd’s signature movement style is a kind of high-tension virtuosity… As ever, Byrd’s default setting is ultra-intense.”

TheSunBreak: “Byrd’s choreography is almost always as heady as it is kinetic, but here he’d reached new heights, and folded in a sort of muscle-memoir besides.”



Seattle Magazine: “Visit a Haunted House in Springtime: See Petruchska at Spectrum Dance Theater”

“Donald Byrd… has adapted this classic story, changing not only the spelling of the name – but exploding the entire format in a fresh and vigorous contemporary exploration. Byrd’s staging travels from beach, to corridor, to television screen; on and off stage and in and out of the elements. He risks rain and even accessibility in order to get us closer to, or more mixed up in the emotional dilemma of Petruchska, who, no matter how trapped and powerless he seems, desperately perseveres.”

The Sunbreak: “Spectrum Dance Presents Petruchska as a Surreal Erotic Carnival”

“You find yourself watching Byrd’s puppet choreography with amazement–how alien it seems, the dancers mimicking string pulls at wrist, elbow, knee. The strange, knees-out hop is spot on; they levitate.”

Seattle Dances:  “…re-visiting this work [Petruchska] is a means to further develop his investigations in moving away from the conventional proscenium-style performance setting.  In this respect Byrd has made considerable progress, and has even found some quite ingenious ways to reconsider the Spectrum studios as a site-specific, audience-engaging, immersive-theater space.”

Scott Bartell Blog: “The scene was a Carnival. There were lights, a stage, booths, popcorn stand, and circus performers. Donald Byrd’s new vision of the classic ballet “Petruchska”. The most avant-garde, genius , profound production I’ve seen to date.”


The Beast

Seattle Times: “Spectrum’s ‘The Beast’: brutal rigor and energy”

“It’s brutal. It’s tough. It’s crazed. It also, unexpectedly, has enough gallows humor threaded through it to make its raw pain as galvanizing as it is perturbing.” Read more at Seattle Times…

Seattle Dances: “The Beast: Spectrum’s Ferocious Debut

“Spectrum Dance Theater’s season opener, The Beast, teems with charged choreography depicting the unflinching details of a violently tainted love story…. At once brutal and captivating, The Beast is stunning in its viciousness.” –Mariko Nagashima, Seattle Dances


Euclidean Space

Seattle Times: “Bumbershoot Day 2: Macklemore, Symphony ‘Untuxed’ and cool surprises”

“No coverage of dance at Bumbershoot would be complete without mentioning Saturday’s stunning world premiere of Donald Byrd’s “Euclidean Space,” performed by Seattle’s Spectrum Dance Theater. Set to and inspired by an electronic score by Amon Tobin, the piece was as abstract as its title suggests and featured near-superhuman turns by Ty Alexander Cheng and Vincent Michael Lopez, pushing at the swiftest edge of what human bodies can do. It also introduced several dancers new to the company, including the formidable Jade Solomon Curtis, who was regal, cool, charismatic, flexible … a whole geometry unto herself.”  —Michael Upchurch, The Seattle Times, 9/4/2011