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Seattle’s Spectrum to be led by Byrd

Acclaimed New York modern dance choreographer Donald Byrd is moving to Seattle next month to take over Spectrum Dance Theater, a contemporary jazz dance company founded in 1982.

“I have some mixed feelings about leaving New York,” Byrd says, “but I feel I can concentrate on some of the things I love to do and are difficult to do here. Spectrum has a very strong school that’s very much involved in the community. I wanted to do more of that, engage myself that way. It’s a small company. There’s lots of room for growth artistically as well as institutionally.”

Founded by Dale A. Merrill, Spectrum operates on an annual budget of about $600,000, presenting about 35 performances of 25 programs in Seattle. More than 700 students study at the dance school, where Byrd will serve as director. Merrill, who is stepping down to become a professor of dance at Chapman University in Orange, handpicked Byrd as his successor.

-- Chris Pasles

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