Spectrum Dance Theater

Seattle-based Spectrum Dance Theater ignites diverse audiences with cutting-edge contemporary dance performances and dance education programs.


Spectrum Dance Theater was founded in Seattle in 1982. Its mission is to produce and present contemporary dance of a global caliber that challenges expectations and calls forth strong emotions and thoughtful responses; to provide expert dance instruction in diverse dance forms to all; and to educate the community about dance as an art form and a social/civic instrument. Under Donald Byrd’s visionary artistic leadership, Spectrum has emerged as a company of regional and national significance. The organization attracts world-class dancers and produces thrilling and challenging works in contemporary dance to critical acclaim, touring throughout the US and Europe.



Bessies-award winning choreographer Donald Byrd became artistic director of Spectrum Dance Theater in December 2002. From 1978 to 2002, he was the artistic director of Donald Byrd/The Group, a critically acclaimed contemporary dance company that toured extensively, both nationally and internationally. He has created more than 80 modern dance works for his own groups as well as for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, and the Philadelphia Dance Company (Philadanco), among others. He has choreographed for classical companies, including Pacific Northwest Ballet, the Joffrey Ballet, Aterballetto, Maggio Danza diFirenze, and Oregon Ballet Theater. He has worked with some of the most prestigious theater and opera companies in the US, including the New York Shakespeare Festival/Public Theater, La Jolla Playhouse, San Francisco Opera, and New York City Opera. In 2005, Byrd was honored by the Kennedy Center with a Master of Choreography Award, and in 2006, he received a Tony nomination for his choreography for The Color Purple. Most recently, Byrd was the first group of fellows to the American Academy in Jerusalem and named a 2011 James Baldwin Fellow of United States Artists.