Can Dance Make A More Just America? Donald Byrd is Working on It

The elegant 1986 work he’s dancing, “Divertimento,” is one of the first images visitors see in “The America That Is to Be,” an exhibition at the Frye Art Museum here that runs through Jan. 26. Organized by the dance artist and scholar Thomas F. DeFrantz, the show traces the evolution, over 40 years, of Mr. Byrd’s commitment to dance as a catalyst for social justice.

“Donald has been celebrated but way undervalued,” said Mr. DeFrantz, who has been his friend and worked with him intermittently as a dramaturge since the 1990s. “So it’s great to see this attention paid, and maybe it’s the start of a kind of acknowledgment of the people who are in the trenches.”

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