fbpx

2020/21 SEASON

A WORD FROM DONALD BYRD

“Hope locates itself in the premises that we don’t know what will happen and that in the spaciousness of uncertainty is room to act.” – Rebecca Solnit

The Proposed Season has come about as a result of embracing the unknown, the uncertainty of this moment in history. My hope (and I do have hope) insists that we take actions – not fret – and see, if only for a moment, in a flash, that we might be able to influence outcomes.

The outcome that The Company of Spectrum Dance Theater hopes for is to reengage with its constituents and create opportunities for communal experiences through contemporary dance that challenges expectations and calls forth strong emotions, deep feelings, and thoughtful responses. Exactly what that looks like we are not certain; but what we are certain of is that it will not look like the past.

And that has to be and is okay with me.
– Donald Byrd

IMAGINING FUTURES
RACE, SOCIAL JUSTICE, AND THE CLIMATE CRISIS

Lyric Suite

Lyric Suite (a film) is a Kafkaesque dance work that explores the mental and emotional effects and impact of extended isolation on 12 individuals told in 11 vignettes. It is about loneliness. It is a psychological, interior world of the mind – fearful, delusional, and at times paranoid; a reality that is distorted and personal.
Lyric Suite is 12 solos, one for each for the 12 dancers that make up the Company.

The Harlem Nutcracker

We pick the story up where we left off at the end of Workshop 1. Clara and her husband have just witnessed the exhilarating floorshow at Club Sweets and a new M.C. appears to introduce one final act.

The Harlem Nutcracker, created by Donald Byrd for Donald Byrd/The Group, premiered in December 1996 at Arizona State University in the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Grammage Memorial Auditorium. It made its NYC premiere later that year at the BAM Opera House. Touring extensively each holiday season from 1996-2002, it gained national recognition, received critical acclaim, and was dubbed as an “instant classic”. 

Using Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn’s “Nutcracker Suite” as a starting off point, arranger/composer/conductor, David Berger, completed the production’s score creating an evening-length composition for Byrd to create his reimagining of the classic tale. The story centers around an African American family in Harlem at Christmas, highlights the unique centrality of the grandmother in African-American culture, the resilience of Black American families, and Harlem as a center of the African Diaspora.

When Spectrum decided to revive The Harlem Nutcracker our strategy was to bring the work back through 3 workshop presentations before the premiere of the revival in 2022. Last year, 2019, was the first workshop. Given the current circumstances, we will not be able to do a live presentation of the workshop as we did at On the Boards in December of 2019. This year we will present Workshop 2 as a film. We pick the story up where we left off Clara and her husband have just witnessed the exhilarating floorshow at Club Sweets and a new M.C. appears to introduce one final act.

For its 2020/21 Season, Spectrum Dance Theater will continue to explore how race, social justice, and the climate crisis in the United States collectively and disproportionately impact racial and ethnic minorities, and people living in lower economic statuses.

Given the events of 2020 (the global pandemic & subsequent public health & safety efforts, the murder of George Floyd and the protests that followed demanding racial justice and police reform, the ongoing fight against climate change, and the upcoming 2020 presidential election), this continued exploration from Spectrum’s 2019/20 season is especially pertinent as the entire world continues to adjust and adapt to a “new normal.”

“The notion of theater as being an in-person experience may not be true as we move forward. What I’m talking about is not a substitution for how things used to be but rather something new.” – Donald Byrd

Throughout the 2020/21 Season, Donald Byrd and Company will again address the question, “How might life be lived in the near future, after humans have adapted?” Byrd’s artistic vision and planning for this season are inspired by an array of ideas, people, schools of thought, and research, including but not limited to: Forensic Architecture, The Flooded London series by Squint/Opera, Bjarke Ingles, think tanks, Elon Musk, research institutes, Archigram, and fictional architecture.

“Imagining Futures – Race, Social Justice, and the Climate Crisis” will include four productions – two virtual productions in fall 2020 and two live productions slated for spring 2021. The 2020/21 season will adapt to new platforms and modes of creation, new means of production and presentation, as well as new technological and creative collaborations.

POOL
Donald Byrd’s artistic vision for the world premiere productions, POOL and After, is inspired by a series of speculative visualizations called The Flooded London series by Squint/Opera, a digital design studio, “depicting London in 2090 when climate change has left much of the city underwater… [and] shows how citizens might adapt to catastrophic rising temperatures and sea levels.” What is striking about these visualizations is their “curiously utopian” vision of the future contrasted against our current reality – the world standing on the verge of a potential climate catastrophe. The hopefulness of these images, and their projection of the human ability to adapt, adjust, and, perhaps, be at peace with change, is both compelling and affirming.

These two productions were scheduled to be presented during Spectrum’s Race & Climate Change Festival in the spring of 2020. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, they were postponed (see “A Dance to Be That Never Was”).

POOL will continue as a piece to be performed outdoors, with the possibility of After being reworked for an outdoor space as well.

After
Donald Byrd’s artistic vision for the world premiere productions, POOL and After, is inspired by a series of speculative visualizations called The Flooded London series by Squint/Opera, a digital design studio, “depicting London in 2090 when climate change has left much of the city underwater… [and] shows how citizens might adapt to catastrophic rising temperatures and sea levels.” What is striking about these visualizations is their “curiously utopian” vision of the future contrasted against our current reality – the world standing on the verge of a potential climate catastrophe. The hopefulness of these images, and their projection of the human ability to adapt, adjust, and, perhaps, be at peace with change, is both compelling and affirming.

These two productions were scheduled to be presented during Spectrum’s Race & Climate Change Festival in the spring of 2020. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, they were postponed (see “A Dance to Be That Never Was”).

POOL will continue as a piece to be performed outdoors, with the possibility of After being reworked for an outdoor space as well.

TICKETS

Memberships for the Imagining Futures season are $120. The membership includes unlimited access to:

  • New works and performances
  • Talkbacks with the Company Artists and Artistic Director
  • Past productions
  • Member exclusives (interviews, merch discounts, and more!)

Performance Passes are available for each of the online-only fall productions. The pass costs $20 and grants the viewer 3-day access to the production. Ticketing information for POOL and After will be made available in spring 2021.

Click here to purchase a 2020/21 Season Membership or Performance Pass!