Donald Byrd Defends Controversial ‘Oklahoma!’ Staging

By Seattle Mag May 9, 2012


Seattle-based choreographer Donald Byrd isn’t messing around this season.

In between creating bold, experimental productions with his dancers at Spectrum Dance Theater (look out for Miraculous Mandarin opening next week), he recently took the stage himself to issue a direct challenge to arts audiences: essentially, to wake up and embrace more challenging material. Watch the video below. His talk responds to widespread claims that the recent staging of Oklahoma! at 5th Avenue Theatre (which he choreographed) was “racist”; and he illuminates how such reactionary claims prevent the community from gaining the full benefit of such risky exploration in the arts.


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