News: ODC Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary In 2022

ODC/Dance's intimate Summer Sampler series; and gala celebrations will mark the moment and a new beginning.

By: Nov. 19, 2021
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News: ODC Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary In 2022

ODC, San Francisco's internationally acclaimed center for contemporary dance, has announced its 50+ anniversary in 2022. The organization will commemorate this milestone with a series of community events, performances, festivals, and more.

Among the anniversary highlights are: ODC/Dance Downtown, the company's home season featuring quintessential works by ODC Founder/Artistic Director Brenda Way and world premieres by guest choreographers Amy Seiwert and Dexandro Montalvo at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts; a new site-specific performance at the Alameda Naval Shipyard by Kimi Okada and Way; a two-week festival at ODC Theater showcasing new works at all stages of development programmed by the Theater's new guest curatorial structure; a return to daily, live dance and fitness classes at the ODC Commons; a block party on Shotwell Street; ODC/Dance's intimate Summer Sampler series; and gala celebrations to mark the moment and a new beginning.

Since its founding as a 16-person collective in 1971 by Way, ODC has been unstoppable. In 1976, the collective (Oberlin Dance Collective, named after its place of origin, Oberlin College in Ohio) loaded up a yellow school bus and relocated to San Francisco. In 1979, it became the first modern dance company in America to build its own home facility. It has since evolved into a groundbreaking institution comprising a world-class dance company reaching 50,000 audience members annually; a multigenerational school serving 16,000 students a year; a 171-seat theater presenting 150 performances each year; ODC Fit, a new, 3-dimensional fitness initiative; and a Healthy Dancers' Clinic offering free diagnostic clinic services and seminars to 700 participants annually. The organization is housed in two buildings in the Mission District, one of the West Coast's largest campuses for dance.

Over the past five decades, ODC/Dance has performed for some two million people in 41 states and 13 countries, performing works by Founder and Artistic Director Way, Associate Choreographer Okada, and ODC Fellow KT Nelson.

ODC's 50+ anniversary kicks off with ODC/Dance Downtown at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, March 31 - April 10, 2022. The company celebrates five decades of virtuosic, exuberant, fearless dance and looks toward the future in this special anniversary home season. ODC/Dance Downtown features reprises of two seminal works by Way that exemplify the company's emotional and virtuosic choreographic style: Investigating Grace and Speaking Volumes.

Way's deeply personal Investigating Grace is set to Glenn Gould's 1955 recordings of J. S. Bach's Goldberg Variations, and was named an NEA American Masterpiece. Speaking Volumes is a work that begins as a solo, a single idea, and accumulates over the course of the piece to a group of 30 dancers (including ODC alumni as well as Dance Jam and community members) who together embody what can be built from collective action.

The season will also feature world premieres by guest choreographers Amy Seiwert and Dexandro Montalvo, two innovative artistic voices who have long histories with ODC. Seiwert, a former ODC Theater Artist in Residence, most recently directed Sacramento Ballet and continues to direct Amy Seiwert's Imagery, the company she founded in 2011. Montalvo is a choreographer, dancer, and educator, and the former director of SF Dance Theater.

In addition to eight in-person performances, ODC's home season will be livestreamed. In May 2022, Kimi Okada and Brenda Way will partner with Rhythmix Cultural Works for Uprooted, a new collaboration that will integrate modern dance, physical theater and text in a series of site-specific performances connecting the Japanese American internment experience with Alameda's historic Naval Air Station. The following month, ODC Theater will host its annual summer festival. The programming, selected with guest curators Amara Tabor-Smith and Charles Slender-White, will highlight the interplay of works by artists in different stages of their careers, with a focus on the process of creation from initial impetus through fully developed work.

In July, ODC will host a celebration of dance on Shotwell Street in conjunction with Summer Sampler in ODC Theater. Summer Sampler will feature favorite selections from ODC's repertoire and exploratory offerings from ODC's guest choreographers. 2022 will also mark the return to in-person classes at ODC School 365 days a year and 7 days a week.
More details about the 50+ anniversary are forthcoming.


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