San Francisco-based ODC/Dance brings its groundbreaking technique and approach to movement to the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday, Feb. 15, at 7:30 p.m.
Founded in 1971 by Artistic Director Brenda Way, who trained under the legendary George Balanchine, ODC originated as Oberlin Dance Collective — named after Oberlin College in Ohio where Way was a faculty member. In 1976, Way and her dancers loaded up a yellow school bus and relocated to San Francisco with the goal of setting up shop in a dynamic, urban setting.
ODC/Dance was one of the first American companies to incorporate a post-modern sensibility (an appreciation for pedestrian movement) into a virtuosic contemporary dance technique and to commit major resources to interdisciplinary collaboration and musical commissions for the repertory.
Now in its 47th season, ODC/Dance’s 10 dancers perform for more than 50,000 people a year and all told have played for more than one million people in 32 states and 11 countries.
The company is widely recognized for its rigorous technique and for its numerous groundbreaking collaborations with, among others, composers Marcelo Zarvos, Bobby McFerrin, Zoë Keating, Zap Mama, Pamela Z, Jay Cloidt and Paul Dresher; writer/singer Rinde Eckert; actors Bill Irwin, Geoff Hoyle and Robin Williams; visual artists Andy Goldsworthy, Wayne Thiebaud, Jim Campbell and Eleanor Coppola; and welder/bike designer Max Chen.
In addition to two annual home seasons in San Francisco (Dance Downtown and the holiday production, The Velveteen Rabbit,) highlights over the years include numerous appearances at the Joyce Theater in New York, sold-out performances at the Kennedy Center, standing-room-only engagements in Europe and Russia, and two United States Information Agency tours to Asia.
The dance collective is known nationally for its entrepreneurial savvy and was the first modern dance company in the United States to own its home facility, the ODC Theater, built in 1979, and expanded in 2010. In September 2005, ODC also opened the ODC Dance Commons, which houses ODC/Dance, ODC School, administrative offices and the Healthy Dancers’ Clinic.