San Francisco Performing Arts - Dance


New York is the undisputed cultural epicenter of modern dance in America, but San Francisco is home to a number of innovative dance companies that are expanding the boundary of modern dance through progressive choreography and a mission to bring modern dance to San Francisco. Influenced by the city and people which surround them, the companies that call San Francisco home cross cultural and artistic boundaries to create unique styles that are rooted in the traditional, yet set themselves apart through the intention to take modern dance off of an inaccessible platform and bring it to all people regardless of background.

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San Francisco Modern Dance Centers

Lines Ballet, LEVYdance, Dance Mission and ODC are all companies that go beyond the realm of most other modern dance companies in their commitment to bringing the artistry of dance to San Francisco communities, and in doing so, create art that goes beyond the performance and influences individuals in unique and profound ways.

ODC Dance Theatre San Francisco

3153 17th St., San Francisco California 94110; Tel. + 1 415.863.9833

Of all the aforementioned companies, ODC perhaps goes the furthest in its quest to create community amongst choreographers, dancers and artists from other mediums and San Francisco residents. The internationally renowned company was founded in 1971 in New York City under the artist direction of Brenda Way. Way, trained under the Russian Ballet great George Balanchine, worked to develop a style fusing classical teachings with modern influences. ODC relocated from New York to San Francisco in 1976 and in doing so, developed its reputation as a company dedicated to infusing the artistry of dance in all people.

Currently, ODC operates under the direction of three uniquely talented choreographers: Way, KT Nelson and Kimi Okada. The company performs its home season twice a year at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in addition to touring nationally and internationally at popular venues such as the Joyce Theater in New York, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and throughout Europe. Numerous awards have been bestowed upon ODC including four Isadora Duncan Awards, a Tony nomination and a Guggenheim Fellowship. In addition the company has performed at premier dance festivals including Jacob's Pillow, the Olympic Art Festival and the New York International Art Festival.

While ODC is perhaps best known for the repertoire of its core company, what makes ODC unique from other American modern dance companies is its ongoing work to create connections with a wide variety of communities within San Francisco. While performing is the most obvious way in which ODC shares its work and artistic vision, the company also strives to bring dance and dance education to individuals and communities where it might not otherwise be received.

San Francisco ODC Dance Education

One way in which the company accomplishes this task is through its Educational Outreach Program. The outreach programs, run by ODC staff members as well as artists from the core company, work to bring dance education into schools through workshops such as its Art Making course, a four part series where ODC dancers go to schools and students travel to the ODC studios and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts to learn about the various components of the choreographic process from inception to performance. ODC also runs a young adult networking program known as Verge that gives men and women the opportunity to interact with other dance enthusiasts though networking parties, educational activities and performance events.

An essential component to the ODC Dance Company is the ODC Dance Commons, a 23,000-foot performance art center that opened its doors in September of 2005. ODC Theater's mission is to offer space access and resources to artists of Northern California and also to present the works of artists whom are "genuinely changing the American Landscape through innovation."

San Francisco ODC Dance Performances

ODC/Dance Unplugged is also a regularly occurring event at the theater, located in the Mission District of San Francisco, where audiences have the opportunity to view dance works in progress. The event includes post-performance discussion in which dancers and choreographers benefit from audience feedback and spectators gain greater understanding of the significance and intention of the choreographed work.

San Francisco ODC Dance and Artists

ODC also works to assist other artists in the art-making endeavor through its three-year residency program. The program offers one year for a fully subsidized performance up to $20,000, a second year for development of work commissioned by ODC and a final year of advocacy to promote the artist's work. Past participants have included LEVYdance, SFSOUND and Motion Lab.

More San Francisco Dance Centers

Dance Mission

316 24th St. (at Mission), San Francisco California; Tel. + 1 415.826.4441

Levy Dance

19 Heron St., San Francisco California 94103

Lines Ballet

26 7th St., San Francisco California 94103; Tel. + 1 415.863.3040
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