Featured News

September 17, 2015


2015/16 Season Announcement

#RACEish: An Exploration of America’s 240 Years of (failed)

Race Relations

The current state of affairs related to race relations in America are decidedly fragile and in light of the growing necessity to encourage civic dialogue, Spectrum Dance Theater will focus its 2015/2016 season on programs and productions that instigate debate, conversation, and examination of RACE and EQUITY in America.  As well, to encourage broad involvement in this dialogue, an aggressive social media campaign is very much a part of this season’s efforts, encouraging the use of #RACEish to stimulate commentary and response.

#RACEish: America, 240 Years, will include:

    The return of Donald Byrd’s provocative and critically acclaimed THE MINSTREL SHOW REVISITED, a critique of the 19th Century black-faced entertainment genre whose legacy is still felt today and continues to play a significant role in black stereotyping;

    The premiere of A RAP ON RACE, in collaboration with acclaimed actress and playwright Anna Deveare Smith, inspired by a 1970’s conversation between white American cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead and iconic black novelist James Baldwin;

    RAMBUNCTIOUS 2.0: A Festival of Music and Dance…Continued includes five world premiere dances focusing on Black American composers, including esteemed composer T.J. Anderson and the gifted and versatile internationally acclaimed musician, composer and bandleader Wynton Marsalis;

    DANCE, DANCE, DANCE  A trio of dance works by artistic director Donald Byrd that underscores the Africanist Aesthetic in his pure dance works. Many (if not all) types of dance created in the United States are influenced by African dance, even ones that are not considered African-American. African dance influences a distinct American style characterized by angularity, speed, and intensity.  While, the African origin is often overlooked because of ignorance that exists due to institutionalized Racism.


“Through the presentation of these works, and in light of all that America faces as she deals with the continuous reminders of this country’s legacy of black oppression, Spectrum is putting its mission of producing and presenting challenging contemporary dance that engages with social and civic issues, front and center.  How could we be a contemporary company and not deal with contemporary issues,” explains Russel Stromberg, President of the Board.

Describing art’s role in the community, Stromberg continued, “Each of these presentations has the ability to make us uncomfortable, make us think, educate us, and hopefully move us toward change.  We are not just looking at how to present the best contemporary dance, but also at how we acknowledge the state of affairs, and feed our community with artistic expression.”

Under the visionary and artistic leadership of internationally renowned choreographer Donald Byrd since 2002, Spectrum Dance Theater continues to produce some of the most ambitious works in contemporary dance.  Considered to be one of the most important choreographers in modern dance, Byrd has created nearly 100 modern dance works for a broad spectrum of companies.  Among his many awards is included a Tony nomination and one of the first group of Fellows to the American Academy in Jerusalem.

“Over my career I’ve used my art to address social issues and illuminate the underpinnings of social challenges.  Today, the issues of race and equity are more critical than perhaps at any other modern time, and I find it impossible to continue work as usual without giving these issues due exploration through my craft,” stated Byrd.

Byrd’s considerable work with Anna Deveare Smith has resulted in the new A RAP ON RACE, bringing together two of the most prolific Black American arts provocateurs, Byrd and Smith, to revisit a real life conversation between James Baldwin and Margaret Mead.  Byrd actually received a James Baldwin Fellowship from United States Artists, and Smith broke new theatrical ground with her one-woman plays, “Fires in the Mirror” and “Twilight”, based on actual interviews that dealt with the 1992 Los Angeles riots.

So why RACEish in 2015?  Byrd explains that the season is intended to provoke dialogue and spur further consideration of the issues we are experiencing today.  On why the “ish”, Byrd refers to it as, “a very popular term within Black American culture.  It can be a substitute for something distasteful rather than a swear word, or it can also indicate that something is not altogether one thing, rather it is a bit of something.  You would prefer to be race-ish over being racist, and while the subject matter might not suit everyone, this hopefully offers a safe place for people to enter the conversation,” explains Byrd.

As well, to encourage broad involvement in this dialogue, an aggressive social media campaign is very much a part of this season’s efforts, encouraging the use of #RACEish to stimulate commentary and response.

Spectrum Dance Theater is perhaps the only dance theater company in the nation to dedicate an entire season to race relations and equity, a topic that can no longer be ignored.  This season will bridge cultural divides and create space for constructive conversations in ways only art can.


The 2015/2016 Season Schedule:

RAMBUNCTIOUS 2.0 – A Festival of Music and Dance… Continued

18-21 February 2016 – Cornish Playhouse


25-28 February 2016 – The Moore Theatre


5-8, 12-15, 19-22    May 2016 – Leo K Theater, Seattle Repertory Theatre


16-19 June 2016 – Cornish Playhouse


2015/16 US Touring Season Schedule:


  • Skirball Center for the Performing Arts – NYU // New York, NY

October 29-31, 2015

  • Texas Performing Arts – University of Texas // Austin, TX

November 4, 2015



Works and Process at The Guggenheim

November 2, 2015

The Guggenheim Museum // NYC, NY



American Dance Platform

January 14 & 16, 2016

The Joyce Theater // NYC, NY


RAMBUNCTIOUS: A Festival of American Music and Dance

January 30,  2016

Washington Performing Arts // Washington DC




January 8, 2015


Spectrum Dance Theater Announces Adam Miller

School andOutreach Program Director

SEATTLE, WA. – After a conducting a national search, Adam Miller has been chosen to lead the School of Spectrum Dance Theater.  Established in 1982, the school reaches over 500 students annually and offers over 60 weekly classes to the community. “Adam’s impressive professional dance background and deep connection to Spectrum’s mission made him the ideal candidate,” says Managing Director, Jill Leininger.  “We look forward to seeing what his energy and vision will bring to our students.”

Adam trained at North Carolina School of the Arts and the School of American Ballet.  He was a Principal Dancer with Pacific Northwest Ballet from 1980 to 1986, as well as with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens and Hartford Ballet. He has been a highly sought after guest artist in the United States as well as in Europe, Asia and South America.  He has performed major roles in nearly all the great classic ballets, as well as works by many of the great choreographers.

He founded and directed his own professional dance company, The Adam Miller Dance Project and is the founder and Artistic Director of the Provincetown Dance Festival.  From 2008 to 2012, Adam was the Artistic Director of the Cirque Du Soleil shows, Kooza and Saltimbanco. He has worked as an agent/ manager at IMG Artists, and is a two-time recipient of the Artist Fellowship for Artistic Excellence from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts.

Adam is a familiar face at Spectrum, where over the past two years he has taught various classes to much popular demand.  Other teaching credits include the North Carolina School of the Arts, The Hartt School of the Performing Arts and Vassar College. He continues to be frequent guest teacher in North America and abroad.

Adam succeeds Shawn Roberts, Spectrum’s Founding School and Educational Outreach Director.  Roberts, who has worked with the school for 18 years and continues to serve in an advisory capacity, says: “[Adam's] extensive background will allow the School of Spectrum Dance Theater to grow at a trajectory that is right in line with a vision we have had for many years now.”

For more information, please contact Meghan Villanueva, Marketing Manager, at Meghan@spectrumdance.org or at (206) 325-4161.




October 16, 2014

Ongoing Internship Opportunities

Gain the competitive edge for the arts career you seek by gaining invaluable experience at Spectrum Dance Theater. Our administrative team is currently accepting resumes and cover letters for the following internship opportunities:

- Public Relations

- Board Relations

- Production Management

- Technical

The internships are unpaid. 8-10 hours per week with flexible hours are available. Interns have access to discounted classes, tickets, and rehearsal space at Spectrum.

The right candidate will be an excellent communicator and comfortable in a fast-paced, collaborative working environment. Dance or theater knowledge is a plus.

E-mail your resume and cover letter to applications@spectrumdance.org with the subject: “Internship Title” Internship Application, First and Last Name.

Spectrum Dance Theater is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, age, national origin, ethnic background, or disability.



August 22, 2014


CONTACT – Jill Leininger, Managing Director, jill@spectrumdance.org

(206) 325-4161


Virtue and Virtuosity: Spectrum Dance Theater’s 2014-2015 Season 

SEATTLE –Spectrum Dance Theater’s 2014-2015 season will include live musical performance at every turn, opening in September with cellist Wendy Sutter playing Benjamin Britten’s Cello Suites and closing with more than 10 local musicians joining Spectrum’s stage for Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana.

Artistic Director Donald Byrd has created a 14/15 season that is as diverse as its performance venues.  From airport hangar to intimate studio performances, each piece considers human architecture—of the body and of the audience in relationship—with careful attention.

The works range from the highly lyrical to show-stopping musical theater to classical scenic cantata.  And, though formally very different, Byrd says that the thematic thread is about acceptance and forgiveness within complex, and even broken, relationships.

“There is hidden virtue in all of us,” Byrd says. “Each piece here—even Schoenberg’s highly romantic music, which is inspired by the poem ‘Verklärte Nacht’ —centers  one way or another on love and redemption.”

On the heels of a successful tour to New York City this August, the Company will also travel to the Winspear Opera House in Dallas, Texas and inaugurate a new Armory performance space for Broadway Center for the Performing Arts in Tacoma, WA.

Spectrum is grateful to the Raisbeck Fund for Live Music and to a pledge from Board Chair Emerita Tricia Stromberg and her husband Russ for their generous support.  Additional thanks to King-FM for media support of this season, which is rich with classical inspiration.

Season ticket packages for the performances below* can be purchased at spectrumdance.org:

* “LOVE”

Date(s): September 19-20, 2014

Venue: Magnuson Park Hangar 30, 7400 Sand Point Way NE


Choreography: Donald Byrd

Music: “Suite for Cello” “Second Suite for Cello” and “Third Suite for Cello”
Composer: Benjamin Britten

Musician: Wendy Sutter, cello


Date(s): November 9, 2014

Venue: Benaroya Hall, 200 University St.

Choreography: Donald Byrd

Music: “Verklärte Nacht”
Composer: Arnold Schoenberg

Presented by Music of Remembrance, with live music. 


Date(s): November 14-15, 2014

Venue: Spectrum Dance Theater – 800 Lake Washington Blvd

Choreography: Donald Byrd

Music:Verklärte Nacht”
Composer: Arnold Schoenberg

Performed with audio playback.


Date(s): February 5-March 1, 2015

Venue: 5th Avenue Theater, 1308 5th Ave

Choreography: Donald Byrd

Music: “Carousel”
Composers: Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II

A co-production with 5th Avenue Theater.


Date(s): April 23-26, 2015

Venue: The Moore Theatre, 1932 2nd Avenue

Choreography: Donald Byrd

Music: “Carmina Burana”
Composer: Carl Orff

Arrangement: Wilhelm Killmayer

Musical Direction: Dean Williamson.

A co-production with Seattle Theater Group.




June 18, 2014

Spectrum Employment Opportunity:

School and Outreach Program Director



The School and Outreach Program Director at Spectrum, in collaboration with Artistic Director Donald Byrd, provides short and long-range educational and artistic leadership for the School of Spectrum Dance Theater, a 32-year old dance school that provides instruction in diverse dance forms to students of all ages, abilities and body types. The School and Outreach Program Director directs the work of more than 20 contract faculty and takes a leadership role in establishing institutional policies, practices, and direction for the School.


Development of Educational Programs and Faculty

• Hire and manage the school’s faculty and accompanists for all education programs, classes and workshops in studio and off-site, including:

o 5 School Sessions per year

o Master Classes

o Summer Intensives and Camps

o Pre-professional Academy & Apprenticeship Program

• In consultation with Artistic Director, set and implement school curriculum;

• Supervise the School’s part-time Academy Coordinator and Ballet Head;

• Work closely with Artistic Director to develop educational outreach projects for youth and adults in Seattle, including lecture demonstrations with the professional company, workshops and residencies;

• Maintain positive relationships with Seattle’s K-12 public and private schools, area colleges and universities, and other community partners, including Pacific Northwest Ballet;

• Observe classes, providing feedback to teachers;

• Identify and positively address any classroom issues or complaints, providing exceptional customer service to all members of the Spectrum community;

• Teach at least 2 dance classes a week;

• Represent the School and Spectrum at community events and meetings, acting as an advocate and spokesperson for the organizational mission and educational approach;

• Work with faculty to prepare students for Holiday and Academy Performances, Student Choreography Showcase, and All School Demonstration, overseeing both the program and production staff.

Financial and Administrative Oversight

• In consultation with Managing Director, develop detailed budget proposals for all school programs and productions, and monitor budget performance throughout the year;

• Oversee the implementation of school procedures and policies and manage the class registration process with Studio Manager and front desk staff;

• Track class, workshop, intensive and camp registrations, providing Managing Director with regular enrollment reports;

• Ensure all School instructors’ contracts are in compliance with the State of Washington Employment laws and uphold Spectrum’s employment policies;

• Manage studio rental requests; inventory of all school related assets; and maintenance of the classrooms and equipment with Studio Manager;

• Attend monthly Board meetings, providing a report of upcoming performances, projects, income and expenditures.

Marketing and Development Support

• Contribute ideas to the annual marketing plan for the School of Spectrum Dance Theater to reach new youth and adult dance students;

• Coordinate all School of Spectrum Dance Theater marketing materials with Marketing Manager, including content ideas for the School website and e-newsletters;

• Attend development events and engage with donors about the vision of the school when appropriate;

• Assist Development Manager with donor stewardship and grant proposals as needed;

• Write class description copy for catalogues and other marketing materials.


Excellent leadership, supervisory, planning and organizational skills, with four years professional experience in educational program development preferred. Ability to communicate well with people of all ages, backgrounds, and learning styles. A broad knowledge of dance forms, a solid background in dance education, and a belief that the power of dance can be accessible to all. Flexibility and sense of humor a plus!

Bachelor’s degree or equivalent professional dance experience is required; advanced degree in a related field is preferred. Requires proficiency with Microsoft Office applications and experience with budget and data management. Salary commensurate with experience.


For priority consideration, please send cover letter, resume, and a list of three references (including at least one teaching reference) by Monday, July 14th to applications@spectrumdance.org or:

School Director Search

Spectrum Dance Theater

800 Lake Washington Blvd.

Seattle, WA 98122



Download Spectrum School Director Job Description PDF


Spectrum Dance Theater is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, age, national origin, ethnic background, or disability.



June 11, 2014

Marketing and Communications,

Summer Internship at Spectrum

Description: Spectrum seeks a dynamic, self-starter to assist our marketing and communications efforts. This internship is an excellent opportunity to experience various aspects of marketing while working for an internationally recognized dance non-profit.


• Update and maintain SDT’s social media presence, including scheduling Facebook updates
• Assist in planning, writing and managing monthly eNewsletter
• Draft and distribute news releases, media alerts and other stories
• Design flyers, graphics, e-vites and other marketing material for events
• Update the SDT website when needed
• Attend occasional staff meetings
• Reach out to the community organizations, general public and donors
• Collaborate with staff on new ideas, directions, and venues for marketing and communications
• Firm grasp of available tools and platforms in the social media space
• Completed or working toward a college degree, preferably in a related field (e.g., English, Marketing/Communications, Design, or Public Relations)
• Previous internship or related experience in marketing or communications is a plus
• Proficiency in Adobe InDesign and Photoshop highly desired. Knowledge of HTML and graphic design a plus
• Effective communication skills, both written and oral
• Good organizational skills with the ability to prioritize
• Enthusiasm for the arts, preferably with some experience in dance

Start Date: Summer internship, open until filled.

Hours: 10-15 hours/week, at least two days a week in the office.

Compensation: Stipend of $125 per week of work.

To Apply: Please a send cover letter and resume to applications@spectrumdance.org with subject line LAST NAME, FIRST NAME: Marketing&Comm Internship App.

Download Job Description PDF

Spectrum Dance Theater is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, age, national origin, ethnic background, or disability.




May 2, 2014

GiveBIG on Tuesday, May 6 and SpectrumDancesBIG!

SEATTLE – On May 6, The Seattle Foundation’s GiveBIG shines a spotlight on the dynamic nonprofits that make this city such a great place to live.

Beginning at midnight and running through the day, make a donation to Spectrum through the Foundation’s website and a portion will be matched by their sponsors.  This is a great opportunity to make a difference to our work!

All donations received will play a vital part in helping us continue engaging Seattle audiences in innovative dance education projects and global caliber productions.

Join the buzz on Twitter using #GiveBIG and #SpectrumDancesBIG!

Inquiries: For further information, please contact Hayley Shannon, Development Coordinator, via hayley@spectrumdance.org or (206) 325-4161.



April 14, 2014

Seven dance premieres coming up in exciting festival collaboration, May 15-24th

SEATTLE – We’re delighted to present Rambunctious: A Festival of American Composers and Dance, May 15-17th at Fremont Abbey Arts Center and May 22-24th at Washington Hall.

The festival will contain a total of seven new works by choreographer Donald Byrd, each set to a string quartet of an American composer and performed live by Seattle chamber music organization Simple Measures.

The first weekend features compositions from the early 20th century—including George Gershwin, Aaron Copland, and Vincent Persichetti– and the second weekend includes contemporary works from Charles Wuorinen, John Zorn, and a world premiere by Don Krishnaswami. Ives’ Scherzo will be featured as the festival overture at each performance.

Times & ticket prices: all performances are at 8:00pm, with the exception of a 1:00pm matinee on May 17. Tickets are $25, with discounts available for students and seniors.

Buy your tickets online here

We’re grateful to the Paul G. Allen Foundation, The Evelyn Sharp Foundation, and The Raisbeck Fund for Live Music for their support of this production.


Press/Media Inquiries: click here to read the full festival press release.  For further information, images, interview requests and press tickets, please contact Katherine Flynn, Interim Marketing Manager, via marketing@spectrumdance.org or (206) 325-4161.


April 11, 2014

Weekly classes with Visiting Teacher in Residence Jimu Makurumbandi start April 14! 

SEATTLE – We’re excited to announce weekly classes in Zimbabwean dance starting Monday April 14, led by our Visiting Teacher in Residence Jimu Makurumbandi of Zimbabwe.

Suitable for people aged 12 years and upwards, no experience is necessary to take part, and participants will learn the finest in Zimbabwean dance from a performer and educator that has toured extensively across Europe.

Further information/Cost:  Participants are asked to wear comfortable clothes they can move in. There is a $16 drop in fee, and 10% discount for multiple classes. The first class on April 14 is $8.

About Jimu:  A Marimba player and Shona traditional dancer, Makurumbandi’s professional career started with a grassroots theatre company called Savanna Arts in Mbare. At 19, Makurumbandi joined Dance Foundation Course, a project created by National Ballet of Zimbabwe. During a one-year apprenticeship with Tumbuka Dance Company, Makurumbandi’s dance training continued under Soukaina Edom Mafundikwa, Julie Knotenbelt and Neville Campbell. Makurumbandi has toured extensively in France and has been performing and holding workshops on Zimbabwean traditional dance and music across Europe.

In addition to master classes and intensives this summer, Makurumbandi will be teaching a weekly Zimbabwean dance class in our studios on Sundays from 12-1:30pm.


For more information, view the promotional flyer here or contact our Studio on (206) 325-4161. 


March 18, 2014

Spectrum Dance Theater welcomes Zimbabwean artist Jimu Makurumbandi

SEATTLE – Spectrum Dance Theater welcomes Jimu Makurumbandi of Zimbabwe, who will be a visiting teacher in residence for one year starting April 6, 2014.

A Marimba player and a Shona traditional dancer, Makurumbandi’s professional career started with a grassroots theatre company called Savanna Arts in Mbare. At 19, Makurumbandi joined Dance Foundation Course, a project created by National Ballet of Zimbabwe. During a one-year apprenticeship with Tumbuka Dance Company, Markurumbandi’s dance training continued under Soukaina Edom Mafundikwa, Julie Knotenbelt and Neville Campbell. Makurumbandi has toured extensively in France and has been performing and holding workshops on Zimbabwean traditional dance and music across Europe.

In addition to master classes and intensives this summer, Makurumbandi will be teaching a weekly Zimbabwean dance class Sundays from 12-1:30pm at Spectrum Dance Theater’s studio, beginning in April.


For more information please contact Katherine Spink, Interim Marketing Manager, via email at marketing@spectrumdance.org or by calling the Studio on (206) 325-4161. Additional information, including videos, images and updates, can be found at www.spectrumdance.org or at Facebook.com/SpectrumDance.


February 6, 2014

Why Minstrelsy in 2014?

A letter from Artistic Director Donald Byrd

Dear friends,

I wanted to send a note in response to some of the curiosity, excitement and anger that
The Minstrel Show Revisited’s marketing materials have stirred up over these past two weeks.

Some have asked: Is the use of this imagery still relevant?  Why am I still making use of it, and how does it “read” differently now?  Well, if you followed the Miley Cyrus coverage (outrage) around her performance at the MTV Music Video Awards, you’ll see a) how the legacy of minstrelsy is still very much in play today and b) how easily polarized we become around issues of race, representation, and appropriation.

The residual impact of minstrel shows on 21st Century America is profound–not only as part of our theatrical history and traditions but also our society in general.

Race in America is complex and thorny, and any conversation about it requires equally complex responses. The Minstrel Show Revisited asks the viewer to consider race in a more nuanced way, as opposed to simply naming something “racist.” For example, we can marvel at the skill of the performer but be horrified at the image. Should we applaud or boo? A complicated and contradictory response is an appropriate one.

But, making that point is not why I wanted to ‘revisit’ the piece.  During the George Zimmerman trial, I was deeply affected by how reactionary the dialogue about race had become.  I saw how the emotions on both sides often cut off any meaningful dialogue. I began to wonder: what would Seattle do with the opportunity to face those deep emotions head on?

I’m looking forward to some spirited talkbacks after the performances. In the meantime, an online conversation has started at #minstrelrevisited, and I hope you’ll share your thoughts.

Donald Byrd
Artistic Director


January 14, 2014

Spectrum Dance Theater presents The Minstrel Show Revisited, February 20-22, 2014

SEATTLE – Spectrum Dance Theater (SDT) presents The Minstrel Show Revisited, a return to Choreographer and Artistic Director Donald Byrd’s 1991 Bessie Award-winning work, February 20-22, 2014 at The Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center. This production is part of SDT’s 2013-2014 season entitled “America: Sex, Race, and Religion” in which Byrd responds to these three quintessential preoccupations of the American psyche.

The Minstrel Show, originally performed in 1991, is Donald Byrd’s satirical look at the often-derogatory song-and-dance tradition of minstrelsy. Byrd, in a January 1992 Los Angeles Times interview, said that his “motivation is not to authentically or historically recreate minstrel shows, but to make something that has a feeling of minstrel shows and is structured somewhat like them with more contemporary sensibility.”

The Minstrel Show Revisited is not a strict revival of 1991’s show, but rather a re-contextualizing of it. By culling elements from the original production combined with structural details from authentic 19th Century minstrel shows and weaving them together with contemporary references, including the Trayvon Martin slaying and the George Zimmerman acquittal, it creates a modern tapestry that underscores the lingering scars of racial, religious, and sexual bigotry in America. With traditional and popular music from the period by Scott Joplin and Stephen Foster, The Minstrel Show Revisited will also include original music by Mio Morales.

Performances will take place at The Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center on February 20-22 at 8:00 P.M. Tickets begin at $25, with discounts available for students and seniors, and can be purchased at www.brownpapertickets.com. Discounted group tickets are also available during the month of January.

Spectrum is grateful for corporate sponsorship from The Boeing Company and media sponsorship from KUOW. Additional photos are available upon request.


For more information, please contact Rebecca Pirwitz, Marketing and Communications Manager, at rebecca@spectrumdance.org or at (206) 325-4161. Additional information, including videos, images, and updates, can be found at www.spectrumdance.org or at Facebook.com/SpectrumDance.