ODC was founded in 1971 by Artistic Director Brenda Way, who had a vision of creating a dance company that would tap into the Bay Area’s vibrant dance and arts ecosystem with innovative programming and an entrepreneurial spirit. It has since grown into a groundbreaking, multifaceted institution encompassing ODC / Dance, a professional dance company that reflects on the values of contemporary life; ODC School, a dance school serving 16,000 students ages 8 months to 98 years; ODC Theater, where emerging and established artists are supported through mentorship, space, and community; and Healthy Dancers’ Clinic, which offers fee-free medical and psychological support for dancers. From its home in San Francisco’s Mission District, ODC cultivates artists, inspires audiences, engages the community, and fosters diversity and inclusion through dance performance, training, and mentorship. In addition to developing engaged and committed audiences, the organization advocates for the performing arts as an essential component to the economic and cultural development of the community.
About the performance
“what we carry what we keep”
Choreographed by Brenda Way, “what we carry what we keep” is a meditation on material / emotional accumulation and our blindness to the effects our behavior has on the world around us. The accompanying film is by RJ Muna.
Dancers: Jeremy Bannon-Neches, Rachel Furst, Allie Papazian, Jaime Garcia Castilla, Miche Wong, Christian Squires, Cora Cliburn, Brandon W. Freeman, Ryan Rouland Smith, Simon Schuh, Jenna Marie Graves
When you look back in five years, what do you hope you and your organization have accomplished?
We hope it will be said that we helped keep a dynamic, questioning, artistic culture alive through a dark, threatening period, that we helped stabilize the creative workforce, and that we celebrated the human capacity for uplift without turning our face from the realities of human weakness.
How is the changing climate impacting your work?
Coming back from a global pandemic is much harder than shutting down because of one, but it gives us the opportunity to reconsider all aspects of our operations, artistic and practical. Certainly the climate crisis is causing us to focus on the role of art in public consciousness. If research and catastrophe are external phenomena, art can give voice to our feelings about the accumulating data and allow us to bridge disparate constituents with opportunities for conversation, exploration, and learning on the issues and impact of climate change. We are enlisting young people in the struggle through choreography and performance. Our company work continues to touch on its impact and the public resistance to the facts on the ground; invoking issues from melting ice and rising tides to acid rain and collapsing hills to Cassandra and the human cost of willful blindness.