50+ Anniversary Gala Press Release (2022)

Media Contact: John Hill  
April 1, 2022 
The Forum at YBCA and Blue Shield of California Theater at YBCA

Photos by Drew Altizer, left, and RJ Muna


 SAN FRANCISCO, CA, February 23, 2022 – ODC, one of the largest and most active centers for dance in the West, will celebrate five decades of exuberant, fearless dance in style at its 50+ Anniversary Gala on April 1. This festive one-night-only event will accompany Dance Downtown, program A, featuring a world premiere by guest choreographer Dexandro Montalvo, a seminal work by ODC Founder and  Artistic Director Brenda Way, as well as a performance by ODC’s teen company, Dance Jam. Proceeds from the Gala will help fuel the next 50 years of ODC and its mission to inspire audiences, cultivate artists and foster diversity and inclusion through dance.

The Gala begins at the Blue Shield of California Theater at YBCA with a welcome reception at 5 p.m. followed by an elegant dinner in the Forum at 6 p.m. catered by McCalls with wines donated by Francis Ford Coppola Winery and desserts by Black Lily Sweetshop, a new venture by acclaimed pastry chef Maya Okada Erickson. Gala attendees will then return to the Blue Shield of California Theater for the 90-minute performance of Dance Downtown. The evening concludes with a rousing post-show party at  the Forum replete with cocktails, delicious bites and dancing. 
“I’ve been an enthusiastic fan of ODC for 47 years,” said Gala Honorary Co-Chair Eleanor Coppola.  “They're such a spunky, original, diverse, well-trained group of dancers with choreographers who bring  us not only art and beauty and entertainment, but who are always delving into deeper issues and  themes that concern all of us. Fifty-plus years of exuberant and fearless dance is a momentous  achievement, and it’s so important that we make sure that ODC continues to thrive and to remain a  treasured part of the cultural fabric of the Bay Area.”
Coppola joins David Landis as Gala Honorary Co-Chair. “I started my association with ODC in the early 80s when I took a tap class with Kimi Okada and, as it turns out, the entire dance company,” said Landis. “Even though I was the worst tap dancer in history, I became part of the ODC community. It's been the  most rewarding partnership over the years. I always credit Brenda Way with teaching us what  community truly means. It's not just about dance or classes or the performances. It's also about the  audience and the relationships we've built over the years. I am incredibly grateful to ODC for how much  purpose this has given my life and to the lives of so many others touched by ODC's magic."
Becky Saeger and Timothy Schroeder chair the Gala Committee which also includes Navid Armstrong,  Anna Boyer and Ann von Germeten. This year’s Gala Host Committee includes Jessica Bixby and Justin Erlich, Karen and Paul Bixby, Ditty and Bart Deamer, Leela de Souza Bransten and Peter Bransten, Sean Dowdall and David Landis, Pamela Duffy, Lynn Feintech and Tony Bernhardt, Sako and Bill Fisher,  Doree Friedman and Kirsten Kuhlmann, Becky Saeger and Tom Graves, Timothy Schroeder and Peter Chandonnet, Brenda Way and Henry Erlich, and Pamela M. Wright. 
Gala tickets start at $175. For more information and to make a reservation, visit odc.dance/gala. More information about Dance Downtown, March 31 - April 10, is online at odc.dance/downtown.


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 ages  and levels (ODC School and FIT), 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. In 2022 ODC celebrates its 50+  anniversary season.