Spectrum Dance Theater lets Olympia audience sample many dance styles

Contributing writerMay 16, 2013 

Spectrum Dance Theater visits Olympia this weekend with a program of short pieces from a wide variety of works choreographed by Donald Byrd, the company’s artistic director.

E SAPIRO — Courtesy of Spectrum Dance Theater

  • SPECTRUM DANCE THEATER'S 'EXCERPTS'

    What: Spectrum Dance Theater visits Olympia with a program of short pieces from a wide variety of works choreographed by Donald Byrd, the company’s artistic director.

    When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

    Where: The Washington Center for the Performing Arts, 512 Washington St. SE, Olympia

    Tickets: $30-$46 for adults; $27-$41 for students, seniors and military; $15-$23 for youths

    More information: 360-753-8586 or washingtoncenter.org or spectrumdance.org

    Preview: See a clip from “Euclidean Space,” one of the works excerpted in Saturday’s program, at vimeo.com/33494713.

The works in Spectrum Dance Theater’s Olympia performance have been shortened, but the theme is a mighty tall one.

“It’s an opportunity for people to think about American dance,” said Donald Byrd, the company’s artistic director and an acclaimed choreographer. “We don’t give that much thought.”

The Seattle company will dance Saturday at The Washington Center, presenting excerpts from an array of longer dances.

“American dance really is about the body,” he said. “Even with all the issues about obesity and Americans not doing things with their bodies, America is a physical culture. We love athletics; we love football; we love basketball; when the Olympics happen, everybody’s tuned into their TV.

“American dance really is about the body moving and the possibilities of what the body can do.”

A lot of dance performances in Europe involve very little movement, Byrd said, and in Asia, traditional dances still prevail.

“If you’re going to a dance concert, you don’t go expecting to see folk dances or square dancing,” he said. “Modern dance, contemporary dance is a uniquely American art form.”

A fitting mission, given that the “Excerpts” program is largely the same one that the company just performed on a tour of South Asia, Byrd said.

“As in South Asia, this is a way of giving the audience a sample of what we do,” he said. “They didn’t need any background in order to be able to enter into the experience, including a knowledge or education or experience with dance.

“It’s highly energized,” he said. “I don’t think there’s an opportunity to get bored.”

Olympia won’t be missing anything by seeing shorter portions of the dances, some of which are full-evening experiences in their original form. “It’s designed to give the audience a very particular kind of experience,” he said.

“It’s an introduction,” he said. “It’s like going to a wine tasting.”

And like a good wine tasting experience, Saturday’s concert will showcase an array of styles. “There is a wide variety of styles of music, energy, look, feel,” he said. “It’s a really good sampling of what it is that we do — not everything that we do but a lot of what we do.”

The Olympian is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service