Donald Byrd founded his company in Los Angeles in 1978, moving it to New York City in 1983 and continuing to lead it until 2002 when he became director of Seattle’s Spectrum Dance Theater. Before organizing his own group, he had studied at Tufts and Yale Universities and performed with the companies of Twyla Tharp, Karole Armitage, and Gus Solomons jr. He has created works for a wide range of dance companies including the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Pacific Northwest Ballet, the Joffrey Ballet, and Dance Theater of Harlem (which presented his Contested Space at the Pillow). In addition, he has worked widely in the related fields of theater and opera, and his choreography for The Color Purple was nominated for a Tony Award. The two excerpts seen here are from the first section of a full-evening production with commissioned scores by Max Roach, Vernon Reid, and Geri Allen.