ODC Theater Announces Its 2020 Season

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ODC Theater Announces Its 2020 Season

ODC Theater, part of the most active center for contemporary dance on the West Coast, has announced the program for its 2020 Season, including the kick-off to ODC's 50th anniversary celebrations. Among the season's highlights are premieres by Larry Arrington, Deborah Slater Dance Theater, Funsch Dance, Garrett + Moulton Productions, Geoff and Dan Hoyle, inkBoat with Ann Carlson, Kinetech Arts, The Living Earth Show, Robert Moses' Kin, RAWdance, Amy Seiwert's Imagery, SFDanceworks and Bobbi Jene Smith.

The 2020 edition of the Walking Distance Dance Festival will be the occasion for the beginning of formal celebrations of ODC's half-century mark. The Festival's programs will feature a number of Bay Area artists who have been in relationship with ODC over the years, artists including Catherine Galasso and Dave Cerf, Janice Garrett and Charles Moulton, Geoff and Dan Hoyle, Margaret Jenkins and Rinde Eckert, Monique Jenkinson, Hope Mohr, Robert Moses, and José Navarrete and Debby Kajiyama. During the opening program, ODC's flagship company, ODC/Dance, will appear in a special outdoor performance along Shotwell Street.

ODC Theater is also proud to continue its Unplugged series, bringing audiences into the process of ODC/Dance, as well as interdisciplinary artists Randy Reyes and jose e. abad. "Central to ODC Theater's mission is a commitment to supporting the artists we grow," said ODC Theater Director Julie Potter. "The Resident Artist Program currently provides a creative home for Larry Arrington, Antoine Hunter, Daiane Lopes da Silva and Weidong Yang of Kinetech Arts, and Lauren Simpson as they evolve their craft, provoke the community and bring new performance work to life. And for the public, the ODC Theater Institute is a series of shared practice sessions with select visiting artists, offering opportunities to learn creative tools and techniques.

"While unstable and nuanced, choreographic forces are significant in their capacity to mediate subtle shifts and seed new possibilities," continued Potter. "What is experienced? Reinforced? Interrupted? Remembered? By repeatedly bringing artists and audiences together, ODC Theater has the potential to generate what a cultural commons requires to thrive-meaningful exchange and collectivity."

Tickets for ODC Theater's 2020 Season go on sale November 14. A limited number of half-priced Art Access tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis to those for whom price is a barrier. For more information, visit odc.dance.


No Quarter (world premiere)

January 9 - 11

Thursday - Saturday @ 8:30 p.m.

ODC Theater Resident Artist Larry Arrington's new work, No Quarter, is a folk dance that considers archetypes of power, paternity and the consequences of time. Using astrology as a deeply held personal practice, No Quarter is performed as an offering on the weekend of the Saturn-Pluto conjunction. It excavates the shadow side and spiritual underpinnings of Eurocentric cultural tenets, the notions of a deity that branch out from them, and the resulting ideological slip from the many to the one.

Arrington is a dance-artist working in hybrids of idea and practice. Since 2011, she has been an active member of the Bay Area's dance and performance community. She's collaborated in the creation of new works with artists including Ruairi Donovan, Keith Hennessy, Jesse Hewit, Mica Sigourney, Amara Tabor-Smith and Julie Tolentino.


February 14

Friday @ 7 p.m.

ODC's Unplugged series is a recurring platform offering a rare and candid look into the creative process. Founded in 1971 by Artistic Director Brenda Way, ODC/Dance was one of the first American companies to incorporate a postmodern sensibility, with an appreciation for pedestrian movement, into a virtuosic contemporary dance technique, and to commit major resources to interdisciplinary collaboration and musical commissions for the repertory.

Kinetech Arts

AI Sensorium (world premiere)

February 21 - 23

Friday - Sunday @ 8 p.m.

Kinetech Arts, composed of ODC Resident Artists Daiane Lopes da Silva and Weidong Yang, works at the intersection of dance, science and technology to create innovative and socially responsible performances. AI Sensorium investigates how bodies and minds are transformed, exploited and manipulated by machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) both virtually and physically. Unlike physical footprints which disappear over time, the erasure of digital footprints is futile. One can no longer control what is left behind. Through "deepfake" AI, human image synthesis can transport one's face onto another's body. AI Sensorium is a reflection on these strange realities, a poetic and fresh perspective that invites the viewer to meditate on their daily interactions in the virtual and physical worlds.


inCIVILITY parts II and III (world premiere)

February 27 - March 1

Thursday - Saturday @ 8 p.m., Sunday @ 5 p.m.

In celebration of Deborah Slater Dance Theater's 30th anniversary season, ODC Theater co-presents parts two and three of the company's inCIVILITY series - Outrage Machine (2018), a combination of motion capture, live interactive visual effects and dance, and the world premiere of the third and final section, A Seat at the Table. Inspired by Adam Gopnick's article for The New Yorker, "Who Deserves a Seat at the Table," and Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal," A Seat at the Table explores the adage that "If you're not at the table, you're probably on the menu."


T.L.E.S.tival (world premiere)

March 6 - 7

Friday @ 8 p.m., Saturday @ 6 p.m. & 9 p.m.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary next year, the "ferociously creative" percussion-guitar duo, The Living Earth Show, will put on a mini-festival (T.L.E.S.tival, The Living Earth Show Festival) featuring one of its most iconic collaborations followed the next evening by a world premiere. On March 6, ODC Theater will co-present Lordship and Bondage: The Birth of the Negro Superman. Composed by and performed with M. Lamar, Lordship and Bondage is an original ten-movement song cycle with text drawn from Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra and the composer Sun Ra's words on discipline and freedom. Then on March 7, ODC Theater will co-present the world premiere of Echoes, created and performed with the Kronos Quartet, composer Danny Clay and Youth Speaks, a San Francisco-based organization devoted to combating youth illiteracy, isolation and alienation. "Echoes is a spoken-word chamber opera foregrounding the voices and stories that are often silenced and marginalized in a changing San Francisco," said The Living Earth Show's Travis Andrews and Andy Meyerson.


TRIPLE TAKE (world premieres)

March 12 - 15

Friday @ 8 p.m., Saturday @ 6 p.m. & 9 p.m.

After expanding to the East Coast in 2019, RAWdance's three artistic directors will unite in 2020 for TRIPLE TAKE, an eclectic trio of new works. Shadow, with choreography by RAWdance Co-Founders Wendy Rein and Ryan T. Smith, is a two-part dance that takes "a deep dive into the digital data debris we leave behind." Only part one of Shadow will appear on this program. The Healer, with choreography by RAWdance's newest co-artistic director, Katerina Wong, mines the ancient history, systems and beliefs of traditional Chinese medicine and holistic practices, to shed light on our innate ability to overcome physical and emotional suffering. For the final piece in the program, all three artistic directors will collaborate on a new work using the Surrealist "exquisite corpse" drawing game to structure their creative process.

RAWdance is an award-winning contemporary dance company entering its 16th year. The company's works for stage and screen have been produced throughout the U.S. and Asia. RAWdance has been a Resident Company of ODC Theater since 2015.


June 4 - 14

The 2020 Walking Distance Dance Festival marks the start of ODC's 50th anniversary. This special milestone edition of the festival, now in its ninth year, features a rich ecology of Bay Area artists immersed in the conditions and particularities of the region.

During the opening program, ODC's flagship company, ODC/Dance will appear in an outdoor performance along Shotwell Street. In addition to the live performances, the program will include pre-show legacy talks, screenings from ODC's film archive and two community convenings.

From feminisms, bewitchment and migrations, to dance incorporating literature, the visual arts, folklore, film and music, the 2020 Walking Distance Dance Festival promises an extraordinary gathering of artists including José Navarrete and Debby Kajiyama of NAKA Dance Theater, Catherine Galasso and Dave Cerf, Margaret Jenkins and Rinde Eckert, Geoff and Dan Hoyle, Janice Garrett and Charles Moulton, Robert Moses, Hope Mohr and Monique Jenkinson aka Fauxnique.


Summer Sampler

July 16 - 18, 23 - 25

Thursday - Saturday @ 8 p.m.

Delight in the exuberance of summer with a selection of ODC/Dance repertory works performed in their intimate home space.


SKETCH 10: Wrecked (world premieres)

July 30 - August 2

Thursday - Sunday @ 8 p.m.

Amy Seiwert's Imagery is a contemporary ballet company dedicated to expanding the definition of ballet through experimentation and collaboration. Imagery's artists explode preconceptions of what ballet can be, stepping away from their creative habits and taking bold risks. This summer the company returns to ODC Theater for the 10th anniversary of SKETCH, their celebrated flagship commissioning series.

SKETCH 10: WRECKED will feature world premieres by six renowned choreographers, whose work will showcase the talents of Imagery's company artists. The choreographers will each create a 12- to 15-minute ballet. Working in pairs, they will "wreck" each other's creations, a process of deconstruction and reconstruction that exposes the inner workings of each piece, laying bare the choreographers' conscious and unconscious habits, while revealing the infinite directions in which ballets can be stretched and reshaped. SKETCH alumni choreographers include Julia Adam, Jennifer Archibald, Marc Brew, Val Caniparoli, Nicole Haskins, Adam Hougland, Gabrielle Lamb, Stephanie Martinez, Matthew Neenan, Ben Needham-Wood, KT Nelson, Gina Patterson, Susan Roemer and Amy Seiwert.


Season 5 (world premieres)

August 13 - 16

Thursday - Saturday @ 8 p.m., Sunday @ 6 p.m.

SFDanceworks celebrates its fifth anniversary season with a return to ODC Theater under the newly appointed co-directorship of Brett Conway and Laura O'Malley. On the program is Marco Goecke's solo masterwork, Äffi, set to songs by Johnny Cash, plus world premieres from Bryan Arias and Drew Jacoby.

SFDanceworks was founded in 2014 by James Sofranko, former soloist with the San Francisco Ballet and current artistic director of Grand Rapids Ballet. Under his direction, the company has presented an annual summer season featuring works from some of the most sought-after choreographers in the world, in addition to supporting the development of emerging artists. Among the choreographers SFDanceworks has taken up are Christopher Bruce, Alejandro Cerrudo, Nacho Duato, Dana Genshaft, James Graham, José Limon, Lar Lubovitch, Danielle Rowe, Penny Saunders, Andrea Schermoly, Olivier Wevers, in addition to Conway, O'Malley and Sofranko.


EPOCH (world premiere)

September 12

Saturday @ 12 p.m.

In cheeky defiance of Doris Humphrey's warning that "all dances are too long," Funsch Dance's EPOCH unfolds over a span of 12 hours, in a gratuitous surplus of movement, interrupted by moments of nothingness. Is endurance political? What bonds does an unlikely scenario forge? EPOCH features 20 performers, an original sound score by Cheryl Leonard and lighting design by Danielle Ferguson. The work will have suggested time entry points, and at 6 p.m., a public discussion with the artists, joined by local performance scholars and representatives from the Mission Economic Development Agency.

Since 2002, Artistic Director Christy Funsch has created eleven full-length works for Funsch Dance. She has been awarded residencies at Djerassi, U Cross and Yaddo, and in 2014 was named one of "25 to Watch" by Dance Magazine. She is currently a Fulbright scholar in Portugal.


September 24

Thursday @ 7 p.m.

ODC's Unplugged series is a recurring platform offering a rare and candid look into the creative process. This edition features a work-in-progress by Randy Reyes and jose e. abad, who blend movement research and durational movement, with sound design and composition, installation art and sculptural elements via a BIQTPOC (black indigenous queer trans people of color) lens. Travel to their respective home countries of Guatemala and the Philippines will inform the work to be shared.

Reyes is a queer, Afro-Guatemalan choreographer, performance artist and healer. After moving between Los Angeles, Berlin and New York, they currently make art in the Bay Area. Abad is a social practice performance artist who explores queer futurity through an intersectional lens. Born in Olongapo City, Philippines to a Filipinx mother and a West Indian father, abad has performed in New York, New Orleans and San Francisco in collaboration with a variety of artists including Keith Hennessy, Scott Wells, Anne Bluethenthal, Brontez Purnell, #DignityInProcess and detour dance.

INKBOAT with Guest Choreographer Ann Carlson

The Ones We Fell Among (world premiere)

October 16 - 18

Friday - Sunday @ 8 p.m.

Inkboat has commissioned award-winning interdisciplinary artist Ann Carlson to make The Ones We Fell Among (Working Title). This multi-phased performance project muses and reflects upon the movements, mythologies, behaviors and perceptions of Earth's largest land mammal, the elephant. With wild, quiet and clumsy grace, Carlson borrows from the real, the imagined and the symbolic to build a world of wonder and reckoning with masterful performers Shinichi and Dana lova-Koga.

InkBoat is a physical theater and dance company founded by Shinichi Iova-Koga in 1998. Repertory and research integrate the interplay of multiple artistic disciplines and viewpoints, both experimental and traditional, resulting in original performance compositions. Carlson's work often incorporates different movement components, speaking or acting components, and props or sometimes animals. "Ann Carlson is a conceptual artist who uses gesture, text and humor to break your heart," (The New York Times).


Lost Mountain (West Coast premiere)

November 12 - 15

Thursday - Sunday @ 8 p.m.

Following the success of A Study on Effort and With Care, former Batsheva dancer Bobbi Jene Smith returns to ODC Theater with the West Coast premiere of Lost Mountain, produced in collaboration with the American Modern Opera Company. Lost Mountain takes inspiration from geological forces to create an abstract and emotionally visceral narrative. A series of vignettes with live music brings together an international ensemble of artists including Evan Copeland, Ariel Freedman, Keir GoGwilt, Coleman Itzkoff, Ravid Kahalani, Jesse Kovarsky, Yiannis Logothetis, Marta Miller and Or Schraiber, in addition to Smith.

Smith was a member of the Batsheva Dance Company from 2005-2014. A 2019 recipient of the Harkness Promise award, she has created commissions for CORPUS, ODC Theater, Gibney Dance Company and Martha Graham Dance Company. She choreographs and stars in the feature films Mari (Georgia Parris) and Aviva (Boaz Yakin).

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