Please note the date change from the 2017/18 Season brochure.

Co-created by director/choreographer Donald Byrd
and actress/playwright Anna Deavere Smith
Kathryn Van Meter, Margaret Mead
Donald Byrd, James Baldwin

Nearly 50 years ago, two towering public figures—African-American author James Baldwin and white anthropologist Margaret Mead—sat together and recorded an epic and intimate seven-and-a-half-hour conversation about race in America. Now, visionary choreographer Donald Byrd and renowned playwright Anna Deavere Smith collaborate to bring that conversation into the present moment, in a new dance-theater work performed by Byrd's acclaimed Spectrum Dance Theater. A Rap on Race, named after the book published from a transcript of that meeting, combines text with movement and music to communicate the complexities of talking about race, at a time when that conversation is as necessary as ever. "It evokes a whole roiling nation caught in the cobwebs of history..." (Seattle Times).

The running time is expected to be approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes with no intermission.

Spectrum Dance Theater: A Rap on Race The presentation of Spectrum Dance Theater was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Spectrum Dance Theater: A Rap on Race Cal Performances presentations in Oakland are generously underwritten by Signature Development Group.

Subscription Series:

Cal Performances in Oakland (Choose three or more)
Spectrum Dance Theater (Fri–Sat, Feb 9–10)
Nicola Benedetti, violin; The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (Wed, Feb 14)
Counting Sheep; A Guerrilla Folk Opera; Lemon Bucket Orkestra (Fri–Sun, Feb 16–18)
GlobalFest: The New Golden Age of Latin Music (Fri, March 9)
The Tallis Scholars (Thu, April 19)

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A Berkeley RADICAL programming initiative. More information on
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Public Events

A Rap on Race

Public Forum
Tue, Feb 6, 2018, 3pm
Geballe Room, Stephens Hall
Joining Generations discussion with Prof. Brandi Catanese (Depts. of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies and African American Studies) and the Dance Studies Working Group.

Free and open to the public.

Side-by-Side Dance Class
Thu, Feb 8, 2018, 6pm
Oakland Metro Operahouse
With the company.

An invitation-only event for dancers. For more information, contact

Post-performance Discussion
Fri, Feb 9, 2018
Oakland Metro Operahouse
With the artisits.

Free to ticket holders.

Community Dance Class
Sun, Feb 11, 2018, 11am
Bancroft Studio
$5. Advance registration required. Capacity is limited.


Major support for public programs provided by Bank of America.


Berkeley RADICAL 2017/18 Transcending Borders
Watch to learn more about Cal Performances' groundbreaking and dynamic artistic programming philosophy.

Berkeley RADICAL 2017/18 Season: Donald Byrd (Joining Generations)

Berkeley RADICAL 2017/18 Season: Joining Generations

"A Rap on Race" Sizzle Reel

Program Notes

Program notes are available online. [PDF]

Metro Operahouse
Patron Information

Getting to the Venue

Oakland Metro Operahouse is located at 522 2nd Street in downtown Oakland at cross street Washington, and in the Jack London Square area. Please see our venue page for more information.

In addition to metered street parking near the venue, parking is available close by at the Washington Street Embarcadero West garage, at 101 Washington Street. Additional parking information for nearby Jack London Square (including information about the Washington Street garage) can be found at:

Passenger Drop Off Zones
Passenger drop off zones will be located directly at the front of the theater and adjacent side driveways. In addition, a white drop off zone area is located at the front of Regal Cinemas, diagonally across the street from the Operahouse on Washington.

Will Call
Will Call will be located in the lobby of the Oakland Metro Operahouse beginning 1 hour before the performances.

Refreshment options at the venue
Alcohol and other beverages will be available for purchase at the venue. (ID is required at the door to the venue if you plan to purchase alcoholic beverages.) Please note: Cal Performances spill proof cups will not be available or honored at this venue.

Nearby Dining Options
Pre-performance dining options at Jack London Square (approximately .5 miles away) including Scott’s Seafood Grill and Bar, Forge Pizza Oakland, and Kincaid’s Oakland. For more information on these restaurants and others, visit:

Donor Benefits

Donor Parking
As a service to our donors at the $750 level and above, we offer the opportunity to reserve parking for our performances. Reserve parking online 5 business days or more in advance of the performance, or by contacting Cal Performances' Development Department at 510.642.8653 or email

View my current parking benefits >>

Additional information regarding donor parking benefits can be found on our Donor Services/Parking page.