2021/22 SEASON


As we settle into the spring of 2022, Spectrum Dance Theater (SDT) and Artistic Director Donald Byrd, have been hard at work curating a collection of films and mini documentaries cataloging the trials and tribulations of creating work during the pandemic year. Meanwhile, in the studio, Byrd and the SDT Company completed two brand new pieces inspired by the complexities of human emotions from the perspective of a mother. The premiere of Love is…Iteration #7 will kick off the week of spring performances and will take a highly collaborative, multimedia approach as it wonders at the powerful emotion of love. Later that same week, the premiere of Grief will also grace the Madrona Studio Theater stage to investigate this highly nuanced emotion caused by a tragic moment in our history.

Love Is... Iteration #7

Love Is… Iteration #7 is a collaboration between DConstruction Arts and Spectrum Dance Theater/Company. In its original format as conceived and presented in its previous 6 iterations by DConstruction Arts, Love Is was an interactive circus arts theater experience that explored the Circus Arts performers’ personal definitions of love each followed by a solo in their particular circus skill. However, in this iteration with Spectrum Dance Theater, it is a post-modernist dance theater, multimedia, docu-dance experience. This highly collaborative new work utilizes the Spectrum dancers’ personal notions of love, movement created by them, processed, manipulated, and arranged by choreographer and Artistic Donald Byrd; audio and video elements by DConstruction Arts co-artistic directors Tavi Stutz and Jane Rose; as well as a perspective on “mother’s love” by frequent Spectrum collaborator vocalist Josephine Howell.

DConstructionArts is a Los Angeles-based arts org created and headed by co-artistic directors Tavi Stuts and Jane Rose. This organization aims to combine the arts of circus, theater, and multimedia to tell stories that entertain audiences, enrich lives and inspire people to think about their place in the world and how to make a positive difference.


Grief explores the traumatic experience of Mamie Till-Mobley after the murder of her son Emmett Till in 1955 by white supremacists in Mississippi. In this new work, Byrd delves deeply into the fury and pain of Till-Mobley’s grief, postulating that it was her profound grief and rage that led to her decision to present her son’s mutilated body in an open casket funeral (“I want people to see what they did to my boy”); speculating that she desired to “amplify” her pain, to share her grief with others in the hope to lessen her pain, if only a little bit.

Whether it was an act of self-preservation or a decision made out of pure outrage, her choice changed the course of history. The Spectrum Dance Theater Company immerses itself in the deep-seated emotions of not just MamieTill-Mobley, but mothers everywhere who have lost a child.

Vocalist Josie Howell will be featured alongside the Spectrum Dance Theater artists.

The Spectrum Dance Theater Company will dive into a brand new season revisiting two classic repertory works for fall 2021. As the School of Spectrum Dance Theater and the Academy Division return to in-person instruction, the Company will also return to the stage with fresh iterations of OCCURRENCE and Donald Byrd’s The Harlem Nutcracker (Workshop). Last season, the Company focused on resilience. This season, the Company will use that momentum in order to present works that challenge thought processes, systems, and legacies.

The fall 2021 repertory season will include two live productions: one in-studio and one in theaters. Spectrum will also welcome several new artists into the Company each bringing their own life experiences to the work, promising new perspectives and interpretations of the well-known Byrd choreography.

“My intention is to introduce each to you in a way that you, the audience, are able to see them as I do – young, gifted dance artists ready for the transforming Spectrum experience. MEET THE NEW SPECTRUM DANCE THEATER!” – Donald Byrd

Fall of 2021 the season will open with OCCURRENCE #10. The Company will mark the return of this much-loved tradition on October 28, 2021 before a live, in-person audience. While the structure of each OCCURRENCE follows the same format, each has a different intent. This season, Donald Byrd will be welcoming new members to the Spectrum Dance Theater Company and OCCURRENCE #10 will be the first production with those new members.
The Harlem Nutcracker
The Harlem Nutcracker utilizes Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn’s “Nutcracker Suite” as a musical starting point. The original story centers around an African-American family in Harlem on Christmas Eve, and the production highlights the unique warmth and centrality of the grandmother in African-American culture, the resilience of Black American families and Harlem as a center of the African Diaspora. This December, Spectrum will present the third phase of the production which will include sequences that follow the Party Scene.