Spectrum Dance Presents Critique Of Racial Profiling, SHOT

In a time when black people fear for their lives when in proximity to those who are empowered to protect them, Spectrum Dance Theater announces their world premiere contemporary dance production, SHOT. The evening-length devised dance and theater performance is the first of their three-part season, AMERICAN - Identity, Race, Or Culture?, where socially relevant themes are stripped from the headlines to be questioned and carefully considered live on stage. Conceived and choreographed by the visionary choreographer, director, and tenacious social provocateur, Donald Byrd and performed by the Spectrum Company, SHOT aims to spark an unapologetic critique of a current American landscape where we find ourselves in an intense cycle of fear, intimidation, and aggression. Season and individual tickets are now on sale. Ticket information can be found online at SpectrumDance.org. (Please note all ticketing is managed through the Seattle Repertory Theatre box office and the Spectrum website will redirect to SeattleRep.org/Spectrum.)

Byrd's work centers on the alarming and continuous murder of black people by American law enforcement and its expanding power and authority supported by recent rulings of the Supreme Court. This past summer, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayer gave this visceral description of racial profiling, "For generations, black and brown parents have given their children 'the talk' - instructing them never to run down the street; always keep your hands where they can be seen; do not even think of talking back to a stranger - all out of fear of how an officer with a gun will react to them." SHOT explores this atomic bomb of a problem: the systematic and institutionalized slaughter of blacks by the police, and also their outward intensification and militarization, where a "shoot first, think later" method to policing is fortified and at times praised by a force that is entrusted with the duty to protect and serve.

Byrd will deploy methods and strategies articulated in what he calls 'theater of disruption,' a genre of artistic work that uses dance, text, fiction, music, mise-en-scène, sound, voice, facts, media, and speculation to engage audiences in issues that are difficult and intractable. "I have spent much of my career focusing my work on prominent civic issues, leveraging the arts to bring important subjects to the forefront of civic dialogue," Byrd comments. "With SHOT, I deeply hope that audiences leave with a sense of acknowledgement for who the men who have been the target of police brutality are - human beings and not just headlines in the news. These men are so much more than the stereotype of thug, fellon, robber - they are fathers, brothers, and children. I hope that this work creates discussion and stirs passion within the audience."

Spectrum dancers will perform alongside the emotive musical stylings of artists Julius Eastman and Jaimeo Brown. For complete company bios, please visit Spectrum Dance here.

After SHOT, Spectrum Dance Theater will produce two additional works as part of its 2017 Season. Those include RAMBUNCTIOUS ITERATION #3 and the world premiere production, (IM)PULSE. For details, visit SpectrumDance.org.


Join The Conversation

You're invited to join Spectrum and Crosscut for a community panel on Race and Police Brutality (#WhenWillItStop) in anticipation of Donald Byrd's SHOT, which centers on the murder of black people by American Law Enforcement. FREE.

January 17, 6:30 p.m. at Washington Hall

In partnership with Crosscut and HIDMO

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