Featuring world premieres by Dexandro Montalvo and Amy Seiwert alongside seminal works by Brenda Way
March 31 – April 10, 2022
Blue Shield of California Theater at YBCA
Cora Cliburn, left, and Miche Wong. Photo by RJ Muna.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA, January 20, 2022 – ODC has announced that DANCE DOWNTOWN, March 31 - April 10 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, will kick off its 50+ anniversary celebrations. This milestone season will feature the organization’s flagship dance company in world premieres by guest choreographers Dexandro Montalvo and Amy Seiwert alongside seminal works by ODC Founder and Artistic Director Brenda Way. Tickets start at $25, and are now on sale at odc.dance/downtown or by phone at 415-863-9834.
Taking place over two weekends each spring, Dance Downtown is ODC/Dance’s annual home season. Program A, March 31 – April 3, includes the premiere of Vámonos by Montalvo paired with Speaking Volumes (2005) by Way. Program B, April 7 – 10, includes the premiere of No Alibi by Seiwert paired with Way’s Investigating Grace (1999).
“After two years away, we are elated to return to the stage,” said Way. “This year we celebrate five decades of choreographic adventure and exuberant, fearless dance. The two works I’ve chosen to reprise from ODC’s repertory have particular meaning to me. Speaking Volumes was originally created for the opening of our expanded ODC Theater, a moment of exploding opportunity and optimism, while Investigating Grace marked a deeply personal moment of love, loss and hope in my life as a parent.”
“Looking to the future, I am excited to introduce choreographers Amy Seiwert and Dexandro Montalvo to the ODC stage. Both of these artists have long histories with us as resident artists, teachers and friends. Each resonates with an aspect of ODC’s values and movement appetites, from the classical to the transgressive. Both create work that matters.”
The works on Program A develop ideas around “renewal.” From the initial gesture of the individual to the exuberant power of the group, Way’s Speaking Volumes invokes the capacity of a singular vision to grow into the full-hearted celebration of community. The climax of the work is realized by 30 dancers including ODC alumni as well as Dance Jam and community members. Jay Cloidt composed the original music; Alexander V. Nichols designed the set and lighting; and Laurel Hellman designed the costumes.
Montalvo’s Vámonos is an ebullient full-company movement outpouring blending hip hop, ballet and contemporary forms in a new work that celebrates individuality and embraces change. With a call to everyone in the room, dancers and members of the audience alike, Vámonos urges us to look forward to the joys that we’ve missed, gathering together in celebration of live art and moving together. The title literally means “let’s go” in Spanish.
The works on Program B are paired around the idea of “reflection.” Swept up in the strains of Leonard Cohen, the poet of brokenness and transcendence, Seiwert has composed an intuitive and elegiac full company response to the late singer-songwriter’s work. In No Alibi, Cohen’s timeless songs form a springboard for physical invention marked by joy, desire and heartbreak. Collaborators include lighting designer Jim French, costume designer Kyo Yohena and projection designer Olivia Ting.
In turn, Way’s Investigating Grace draws inspiration from Glenn Gould’s youthful and intense performance of J. S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations. About a decade after its premiere, Investigating Grace was named an American masterpiece by the National Endowment for the Arts. Sandra Woodall designed the costumes, and Alexander V. Nichols designed the lighting.
Since its founding, ODC/Dance has performed for more than two million people in 41 states and 13 countries. It holds the distinction of being the first modern dance company in America to build its own home facility. In addition to a world-class dance company, ODC today comprises a school serving upwards of 16,000 students, both children and adults, each year; a theater that fosters new performance by Bay Area artists and serves as a foothold for touring artists from around the globe; a clinic offering free diagnostic services and seminars for dancers; an in-person and on demand streaming fitness program; and much more. In all, the organization's two-building campus in San Francisco's Mission district forms one of the West Coast’s largest and most active centers for dance.
This season, ODC/Dance’s company includes Jeremy Bannon-Neches, Jaime Garcia Castilla, Mia J. Chong, Cora Cliburn, Brandon W. Freeman "Private", Rachel Furst, Allie Papazian, Simon Schuh, Ryan Rouland Smith, Christian Squires and Miche Wong.
In addition to eight performances, including two Sunday matinees, Dance Downtown will feature ODC’s 50+ Anniversary Gala on Friday, April 1. Guests will be treated to an elegant dinner, a surprise addition to the evening’s program A, and a rousing post-show party. Proceeds from ticket sales will help fuel the next 50 years of ODC and its mission to inspire audiences, cultivate artists and foster diversity and inclusion through dance. For more information, visit odc.dance/gala.
Dance Downtown is generously supported by CalOSBA, the National Endowment for the Arts, San Francisco Grants for the Arts, U.S. Small Business Administration, the Bernard Osher Foundation, Hearst Foundations, Hellman Foundation, John and Marcia Goldman Foundation, Koret Foundation, Sakana Foundation, Shubert Foundation and William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
Founded in 1971 by Artistic Director Brenda Way, ODC is a groundbreaking contemporary arts institution: a world-class dance company (ODC/Dance), a theater with year-round presenting and mentorship programs (ODC Theater), a training school for dancers and movers of all levels (ODC School), and a fee-free, educational Healthy Dancers’ Clinic. Known nationally for its entrepreneurial savvy and artistic innovation, ODC is unique for its holistic vision, now including a robust digital platform. With its home in San Francisco’s Mission District, ODC makes a dynamic contribution to the Bay Area’s vibrant dance and arts ecosystem, cultivating artists, inspiring audiences, engaging the community, and fostering diversity and inclusion through dance performance, training and mentorship.
Proof of full vaccination, including a booster shot if eligible, and masks are required for all in-person events. Learn more at odc.dance/reopening.