The works in Spectrum Dance Theaters Olympia performance have been shortened, but the theme is a mighty tall one.
Its an opportunity for people to think about American dance, said Donald Byrd, the companys artistic director and an acclaimed choreographer. We dont 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, everybodys 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 youre going to a dance concert, you dont 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 didnt need any background in order to be able to enter into the experience, including a knowledge or education or experience with dance.
Its highly energized, he said. I dont think theres an opportunity to get bored.
Olympia wont be missing anything by seeing shorter portions of the dances, some of which are full-evening experiences in their original form. Its designed to give the audience a very particular kind of experience, he said.
Its an introduction, he said. Its like going to a wine tasting.
And like a good wine tasting experience, Saturdays concert will showcase an array of styles. There is a wide variety of styles of music, energy, look, feel, he said. Its a really good sampling of what it is that we do not everything that we do but a lot of what we do.