ABOUT ODC/DANCE

ABOUT ODC/DANCE

Founded in 1971 by Artistic Director Brenda Way who trained under the legendary George Balanchine, ODC (Oberlin Dance Collective—named after Oberlin College in Ohio where Way was on faculty) loaded up a yellow school bus and relocated to San Francisco in 1976. Her goal was to ground the company in a dynamic pluralistic urban setting. ODC was one of the first American companies to return, after a decade of pedestrian exploration, to virtuosic technique in contemporary dance and to commit major resources to interdisciplinary collaboration and musical commissions for the repertory.

ODC/Dance Company of ten world-class dancers performs its imaginative repertory for more than 50,000 people annually. In addition to two annual home seasons in San Francisco (Dance Downtown and its holiday production, The Velveteen Rabbit), recent highlights include appearances at the Brooklyn Academy of Music Next Wave Festival in New York, MODAFE Festival in Seoul Korea, Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley, and past standing-room-only engagements in Europe, Russia, and Asia. Way’s work was selected by Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) for the Inaugural Dancemotion Tour in 2010. 

The company has been widely recognized for its rigorous technique and for its numerous groundbreaking collaborations with, among others, composers Marcelo Zarvos, Bobby McFerrin, Zoë Keating, Zap Mama, Pamela Z and Paul Dresher, writer/singer Rinde Eckert; actors Bill Irwin, Geoff Hoyle and Robin Williams; visual artists Andy Goldsworthy, Wayne Thiebaud, Jim Campbell and Eleanor Coppola; and welder/bike designer Max Chen.

ODC is known nationally for entrepreneurial savvy and was the first modern dance company in the United States to own its home facility, the ODC Theater. In 2005, ODC expanded its campus to include the ODC Dance Commons, which houses ODC/Dance, ODC School, a Pilates studio, and a Healthy Dancers' Clinic.

Book the Company

ODC/Dance performs nationally and internationally. If you're a presenter interested in booking ODC/Dance or would like more information about our current touring repertory, we would love to hear from you.

Cathy Pruzan
Booking Agent
Domestic Touring
(415) 789-5051
cathy@odc.dance

Joseph Copley
Associate Director of Artistic Planning
Company Management & International Touring
(415) 549-8515
joseph@odc.dance

Repertory

  • Investigating Grace 1999

    For ODC’s 11 dancers

    Duration
    40 minutes
    Choreography
    Brenda Way
    Commissioned score
    Music: J.S. Bach
    Light + Scenic Design
    Alexander V. Nichols
    Costume Design
    Sandra Woodall

    Named an NEA American Masterpiece in 2011, Brenda Way’s deeply personal Investigating Grace is a brilliant reflection on the vicissitudes of life danced to Glenn Gould’s youthful and intense performance of Bach’s Goldberg Variations.

    Click below to view and download High-Res Photos:

    “...a light-filled and ultimately exalted stream of movement” NNEW YORK TIMES
  • Dead Reckoning Dead Reckoning 2015

    For ODC's 5 men, 5 women

    Duration
    30 minute
    Choreography
    KT Nelson
    Commissioned score
    Joan Jeanrenaud
    Light + Scenic Design
    Matthew Antaky
    Costumes
    Liz Brent

    A sabbatical in Death Valley serves as the inspiration for KT Nelson's Dead Reckoning. Original music from celebrated Kronos Quartet cellist Joan Jeanrenaud underscores the story of how humanity has lost its way, and the impact that has on the surrounding natural forces. Dead Reckoning refers to navigating without the predictable reference points of stars, increasing the likelihood of accumulative error. Nelson says "Today at the rate of change in nature is unprecedented. How will we negotiate it? Are we in a time of dead reckoning?"

    Click below to view and download High-Res Photos:

    "a company classic" – SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
  • Two if by Sea 2014

    Two Company Dancers

    Choreography
    Kimi Okada
    Commissioned score
    Teiji Ito, Steve Reich
    Light + Scenic Design
    David Robertson
    Costume Design
    Liz Brent

    A couple’s secret language and signals become increasingly imperative and urgent as their world changes.

    Click below to view and download High-Res Photos:

  • Collision Collapse and a Coda Collision Collapse and a Coda 2023

    Duration
    25 Minutes
    Choreography
    Brenda Way
    Commissioned score
    Music: David Lang, Gwely Mernans, Jay Cloidt, Frédéric Chopin
    Light + Scenic Design
    Alexander V. Nichols

     A rousing response to the daily barrage of news, disasters and disruptive events, and the solace we find in the care and affection of intimate relationships.

    " it does something more powerful than make an argument — it holds the moment, and makes us feel less alone in it.” San Francisco Chronicle
  • A Brief History of Up and Down 2024

    Full Company

    Choreography
    BRENDA WAY
    Commissioned score
    JOHANN HEINRICH SCHMELZER CHAD LAWSON / J.S. BACH
    Light + Scenic Design
    ALEXANDER V. NICHOLS
    Costume Design
    KYO YOHENA

    Art-making inherently poses questions and proposes fresh ways of seeing. A Brief History of Up and Down joyfully shares reflections on the evolution of beauty that has taken place in dance over the 55 year lifespan of the ODC/Dance Company. From simple movement to extraordinary virtuosity- “Real people really Dancing!”

    Click below to view and download High-Res Photos:

  • Inkwell 2024

    For 10 Dancers

    Choreography
    KIMI OKADA
    Commissioned score
    RAYMOND SCOTT, CARAVAN PALACE, DJANGO REINHARDT, LIZZY & THE TRIGGERMEN
    Visuals
    YUKI IZUMIHARA
    Light + Scenic Design
    THOMAS BOWERSOX
    Costume Design
    MAYA OKADA ERICKSON, KYO YOHENA

    Inspired by the cartoons of Max Fleischer from the 1920’s and 1930’s, Inkwell draws from a black and white universe of oddballs, misfits, and maniacs. With a movement vocabulary rooted in physical comedy, vaudeville forms, and early cinema, the piece explores the power of demagogues over unwitting humans and the path from seduction to indoctrination. Music by Raymond Scott, Django Reinhardt, and other early jazz musicians.

    Click below to view and download High-Res Photos:

  • May's Letters 2022

    For ODC’s 11 dancers

    Choreography
    Kimi Okada, Brenda Way
    Commissioned score
    Music: Tina Blaine + Jay Cloidt
    Visuals
    Set Design: Marc Ribaud
    Light + Scenic Design
    Thomas Bowersox Jr
    Costume Design
    Kyo Yohena
    Voiceovers
    : Kimi Okada, Dave Okada, and the Dancers
    Letters
    May and Dave Okada

    May's Letters, choreographed by ODC/Dance Associate Choreographer Kimi Okada and ODC Founding Artistic Director Brenda Way, is an intimate portrayal of Okada’s parent's life as newlyweds. They were detained in a Japanese American incarceration camp, where Okada's mother, May, wrote letters that are read aloud as part of the score. Through this work, Okada conveys a deeply personal narrative filled with tales of bleak conditions, indomitable spirit, and also love, humor, and grace. 

    Of May’s Letters Okada says, “Her letters surface the timely issue of how we cope with the injustices of racism and the confines of imprisonment. While the piece explores the question of how one responds to a national betrayal, it is ultimately about the power of community that allows each person to find a path to resilience.”

    Click below to view and download High-Res Photos:

    "Beautifully rendered" Fjord Review
  • Triangulating Euclid Triangulating Euclid 2013

    For ODC’s 5 men, 5 women

    Duration
    29 min
    Choreography
    Brenda Way, KT Nelson, Kate Weare
    Commissioned score
    Various + Shubert
    Light + Scenic Design
    Matt Antaky
    Costumes
    Way + Lisa Claybaugh

    Way and Nelson team up with acclaimed New York-based choreographer Kate Weare in this unprecedented collaboration designed to shake up their creative process and explore new artistic territory. The inspiration for this work came from a rare original edition of Euclid's Elements, perhaps the most influential work in the history of mathematics. This highly physical, insightful, and emotive work moves from the formal elegance of geometry to its human implication: from triangles to threesome, from lines to connections, from the page to the heart.

    Click below to view and download High-Res Photos:

    “There’s a point-to-point logic to the piece that seems as irresistible and inevitable as those ancient mathematical theorems. The new work... flows, twirls and regroups with utter confidence.” – SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
  • Impulse 2014

    For 4 Women

    Duration
    10 Minutes
    Choreography
    Dexandro Montalvo
    Commissioned score
    Music: Someone Else & Miskate
    Light + Scenic Design
    Jack Beuttler
    Costume Design
    Kyo Yohena

    Created in 2014, and featuring music by Someone Else & Miskate, Impulse celebrates “individuality, physicality and ferocity of movement.” The piece was nominated for an Izzie award for outstanding choreography.

    Click below to view and download High-Res Photos:

    “ hip, pounding and mesmerizingly executed.” San Francisco Chronicle
  • What we carry What we keep 2017

    For ODC's Dancers

    Duration
    30 minutes
    Choreography
    Brenda Way
    Light + Scenic Design
    Alexander V. Nichols

    Why do we hold on and how do we let go - of our stuff, our habits, our opinions, our relationships? What defines us in the end?

    Click below to view and download High-Res Photos:

  • Path of Miracles 2018

    For ODC's Dancers and Volti

    Duration
    1 hour
    Choreography
    KT Nelson
    Composer
    Joby Talbot
    Conductor
    Robert Geary
    Lighting Design
    David Robertson

    Path of Miracles is a site-specific performance experience created in collaboration with San Francisco’s outstanding 17-member vocal ensemble, Volti, singing a transcendent score by Joby Talbot. Path of Miracles explores our journey through space and time.

    Click below to view and download High-Res Photos:

    "The artists spoke fluently to one other, each in her own language." – San Francisco Chronicle
  • The Velveteen Rabbit The Velveteen Rabbit 1986

    For ODC’s 11 dancers & 6-10 local children

    Duration
    75 minutes
    Choreography
    KT Nelson
    Narration
    Geoff Hoyle
    Score
    Benjamin Britten
    Story
    Margery Williams

    "Once, there was a velveteen rabbit ... and in the beginning he was really splendid, fat and bunchy, as a rabbit should be, and on Christmas morning the little boy loved him best of all."

    ODC/Dance brings Margery Williams' classic tale of a well-worn stuffed rabbit to life through music, dance, and a splendid narration by actor/comedian Geoff Hoyle. Brimming with wit, festive costumes, and endearingly madcap characters, this production incorporates eight local children, and is a holiday treat and evergreen classic.

    Click below to view and download High-Res Photos:

    "Delightful, imaginative, with something to offer both adults and children ... the choreography makes the story come alive." – NEW YORK TIMES
  • Image of company member Miche Wong in an orange dress floating among the McEvoy landscape with leaves surrounding her ODC/Dance Films 2020

    Duration
    25 min
    Choreography
    Brenda Way, KT Nelson, Kimi Okada
    Concept
    Brenda Way, Natalia Roberts
    Commissioned score
    Zoë Keating, Tchaikowsky, Marcelo Zarvos

    A triple-bill exploration of ODC/Dance films, featuring 2011’s Love on the Run, plus the public premiere of ODC’s Sleeping Beauty, and the public world premiere of Walk on Air (against your better judgement).

    Love on the Run (2011)
    A 5 minute short that takes to the streets of San Francisco to excavate everyday sources of contemporary choreography. Take the trip with us from forthright public perception to the delight of choreographic transformation.

    Walk on Air (against your better judgement) (2020)
    Public World Premiere

    A 15-minute film that realizes the imagination of a sequestered dancer, left with her longing, her memories and her imagination. Bodies may be constrained but minds are free to roam. In Walk on Air - from a poem by Seamus Heaney - we take you into nature and the uplifting vision of being together, dancing together, again.
     
    Sleeping Beauty (2020)
    Public World Premiere

    A 4 minute short created in the suspended reality of Shelter in Place. Set to Tchaikowsky’s atmospheric Sleeping Beauty Waltz and Narrated by artistic director Brenda Way, we consider the musings of a profession in suspension. "So let the dance company lay in wait, like the fairy tale beauty. Asleep but not gone, dormant but not defeated. Awaiting a kiss of renewal.”

    Click below to view and download High-Res Photos:

    "We take you into nature and the uplifting vision of being together, dancing together, again"
  • The Velveteen Rabbit On-Demand 2020

    Duration
    75 minutes
    Choreography
    KT Nelson
    Narration
    Geoff Hoyle
    Score
    Benjamin Britten
    Story
    Margery Williams

    "Once, there was a velveteen rabbit ... and in the beginning he was really splendid, fat and bunchy, as a rabbit should be, and on Christmas morning the little boy loved him best of all."

    Brimming with wit, festive costumes, madcap characters and the perfect amount of holiday cheer, ODC/Dance, one of America’s most exciting and acclaimed contemporary dance companies, brings a new, interactive, and special digital presentation of The Velveteen Rabbit.

    Make a memorable holiday season with your family and friends. Laugh, dance, sing, and experience The Velveteen Rabbit with never-before-seen “Dance Break!” videos. Get moving and dance along with your favorite characters with activities like the “Toy Slide,” “Bunny Beat,” and “Croc Bop.”

     

    Click below to view and download High-Res Photos:

    "Delightful, imaginative, with something to offer both adults and children ... the choreography makes the story come alive." – NEW YORK TIMES
  • Drinks & a Dance 2020



    ODC/Dance presents its iconic works paired specially with a local restaurant or bar. Starting with an interactive cocktail class, wine tasting, or historical context into food & beverage, we then witness an intimate conversation between the choreographers and collaborators. After gaining insights into the process of creation, ODC screens a high quality video of the work, immediately followed by Q&A with the artists. Featured artists have included Brenda Way, KT Nelson, Kimi Okada, Pamela Z, Zoë Keating, and Paul Dresher.

    The Recipe

    The Zoom Lobby

    5:15pm
    Your Zoom theater date begins with you and your friends in an informal, social chat with a mixologist, wine maker, or other expert leading you in the creation of the evening’s specialty drink. Your beverage of the evening can be ordered and delivered, or, if you live further afield and already have the ingredients, you will receive a recipe.

    5:45pm
    An intimate discussion of the work with the choreographer and special guest collaborators.

    Livestream Screening

    6:00pm
    Together, we’ll watch a screening of the evening’s ODC/Dance performance, followed by a virtual Q&A with the artists.

    Click below to view and download High-Res Photos:

    “ An experience like this comes close to watching a live show and the bonus of hearing from the creators of the piece themselves was wonderful and made me feel connected to an audience again.” — ODC PATRON, DRINKS & A DANCE: WALK BACK THE CAT
  • ODC Outreach 2020

    ODC/Dance offers live site specific composition classes taught by ODC Choreographers. Additionally, if you would like ODC's Artistic Leadership to join your podcast or other broadcast events for insight into ODC and the work, we would love to hear from you.

    Cathy Pruzan
    Booking Agent
    (415) 789-5051
    cathy@odc.dance

    Joseph Copley
    Associate Director of Artistic Planning
    (415) 549-8515
    joseph@odc.dance

    Click below to view and download High-Res Photos:

Founded in 1971 by Artistic Director Brenda Way who trained under the legendary George Balanchine, ODC (Oberlin Dance Collective—named after Oberlin College in Ohio where Way was on faculty) loaded up a yellow school bus and relocated to San Francisco in 1976. Her goal was to ground the company in a dynamic pluralistic urban setting. ODC was one of the first American companies to return, after a decade of pedestrian exploration, to virtuosic technique in contemporary dance and to commit major resources to interdisciplinary collaboration and musical commissions for the repertory.