This San Francisco institution is one of the most active centers for dance on the west coast, engaging the community through both performance and activism.
ODC/Dance is known throughout the world for its athleticism, passion, and intellectual depth. The Company's three resident choreographers, Brenda Way, KT Nelson, and Kimi Okada, are considered among America's important contemporary choreographers and have created a dynamic movement vocabulary that has significantly influenced dancers and choreographers alike. In 38 years, ODC/Dance has performed for more than a million people in 32 states and 11 countries.
Founded in 1971 by Artistic Director Brenda Way, who trained under George Balanchine, ODC (Oberlin Dance Collective--named after its place of origin, Oberlin College in Ohio) loaded up a yellow school bus and relocated to San Francisco in 1976. Her goal was to ground the company in a dynamic pluralistic setting. ODC/Dance was the first modern dance company in America to build its own home facility in 1979, from which it operates the ODC School, the ODC Theater, and the ODC Gallery. In September 2005, ODC opened a second performing arts facility, the ODC Dance Commons. Through their various programs, ODC strives to inspire audiences, cultivate artists, engage community, and foster diversity and inclusion through dance performance, training, and mentorship.
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Brenda Way, Artistic Director, received her early training at The School of American Ballet and Ballet Arts in New York City. She is the Founder and Artistic Director of ODC/Dance and creator of the ODC Theater and ODC Dance Commons, a community performance venue and training facility in San Francisco's Mission District. She has choreographed some 75 works including commissioned pieces: 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) performances at 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); and Invisible Cities (1985, Stanford Lively Arts and the Robotics Research Laboratory).
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 John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship and is a Resident of the Arts at the American Academy in Rome in the spring of 2009. Way holds a PhD in aesthetics and is the mother of four children.