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ODC/Dance (formerly, the Oberlin Dance Company) is a contemporary dance company founded in 1971 by current artistic director Brenda Way. ODC relocated to San Francisco in 1976 and in 1979 became the first dance company in America to build its own facility, from which it still operates. ODC comprises a contemporary dance company, a community theater organization, and a school.
ODC’s programs involve 6,000 artists and students and reach 50,000 audience members annually. The company is noted for its fusion of classical and modern techniques and for its collaborations, including with writers Leslie Scalapino and Rinde Eckert; actors Bill Irwin, Geoff Hoyle and Robin Williams; and visual artists Wayne Thiebaud, John Woodall, and Eleanor Coppola.
Repertory and Awards
ODC/Dance Company has three resident choreographers, Brenda Way, KT Nelson, and Kimi Okada. They are considered among America’s major contemporary choreographers. The company’s repertory of over 120 works includes commissions for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, San Francisco and Oakland Ballets, Los Angeles and Santa Fe Operas, Walker Art Center and the Festival des Etoiles, among others. Awards include five Isadora Duncan Dance Awards, a Guggenheim Fellowship for Ms. Way, and a Tony nomination for Ms. Okada. ODC was “Best Dance Company” in the San Francisco Bay Guardian for 2005 and 2006 and the San Francisco Business Arts Council’s choice for Exceptional Non-Profit Arts Organization—2004.
Composed of eleven dancers, ODC/Dance performs its repertory for more than 50,000 people annually. ODC/Dance presents two three-week home seasons at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, which feature new and repertory work and the family production of The Velveteen Rabbit. The company also tours for 6–10 weeks. The touring roster has included the Kennedy Center, Spoleto Festival, Jacob's Pillow, and the Joyce Theater, as well as Europe, Australia, Southeast Asia, and regions across the former Soviet Union.
The ODC School and Rhythm and Motion Dance Program
The ODC School and Rhythm and Motion Dance Program offer a weekly schedule of 180 classes for all ages and skill levels. In conjunction with the Theater, the school provides several mentoring programs for emerging and mid-career choreographers and was the first organization in San Francisco to offer a modern dance curriculum for children. The school offers tuition scholarships and educational outreach to San Francisbo Bay Area youth. Classes include ballet, rhythm and blues, among other forms.
The ODC Theater
The ODC Theater is the site of over 150 performances a year involving nearly 1,000 local, regional, national and international artists. The theater sponsors curatorial, educational and mentoring opportunities, including a comprehensive, three-year residency program that offers presentation, development and advocacy subsidies for emerging and mid-career artist in the San Francisco Bay Area.