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Brenda Way is the American Artistic Director/Founder of ODC/Dance (Oberlin Dance Company). ODC has since become the premier contemporary dance company of the West Coast, performing for more than 50,000 people a year.
Under Way's leadership, ODC became the first modern dance company in the United States to build its own facility, which includes the ODC School, Theater, and Gallery, serving as a home for the resident dance company, offering classes for adults and young people, and presenting programs of national and international dance performers and companies. The ODC Dance Commons, is a five-studio rehearsal and office complex in the Mission District, San Francisco, California. ODC relocated to San Francisco in 1976 on a yellow school bus, with a vision of challenging the view that, a dance company must locate itself in New York City to be considered successful.
Ms. Way been called the first "post-modern" choreographer, who "constructs" dances.[according to whom?] ODC/Dance is known throughout the world for its athleticism, passion and intellectual depth. The company has been widely recognized for its fusion of ballet and modern techniques and for their numerous groundbreaking collaborations. She received her early training at The School of American Ballet and Ballet Arts in New York City. She holds a Ph.D. in Aesthetics and is the mother of four children.
Ms. Way is a national spokesperson for dance, has published widely, and has received numerous awards and 30 years of support from the National Endowment for the Arts. She is a 2000 recipient of the prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. Brenda Way was honored with a prestigious residency at the American Academy in Rome for the academic year 2008-2009.
Brenda Way has choreographed 76 dance pieces over her 35-year plus career. These commissions include:
- Unintended Consequences: A Meditation (2008) Equal Justice Society
- On a Train Heading South (2005) CSU Monterey Bay
- Remnants of Song (2002) Stanford Lively Arts
- Scissors Paper Stone (1994) Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
- Western Women (1993) Cal Performances, Rutgers University, and Jacob's Pillow
- Ghosts of an Old Ceremony (1991) Walker Art Center and The Minnesota Orchestra
- Krazy Kat (1990) San Francisco Ballet
- This Point in Time (1987) Oakland Ballet
- Tamina (1986) San Francisco Performances
- Invisible Cities (1985) for Stanford Lively Arts and the Robotics Research Laboratory