Over 50 years ODC has grown into a dance company, school and creative incubator. They credit their success to their entrepreneurial spirit

In Musical Drama II Sunday in the Park with George An artist presents his future art installation to a group of patrons in a museum. „It’s easy to advance art,” sings George. „Finance it is not.”

Throughout history business and art, especially when it comes to theater and dance, have struggled to coexist. But ODC (formerly Oberlin Dance Company), in San Francisco’s Mission District, is a big exception to the rule. At a time when dance companies are struggling to survive ODC continues to grow.

A professional dance company and school for 16,000 students ages 2 to 92, ODC was one of the first American contemporary dance companies to have their own building. This entrepreneurial spirit continues to drive them. Dedicated to securing space for artists in a city known for high and rising real estate prices, ODC recently purchased a third building—next to their theater.

Not only do they see the benefit of buying the space next door as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but it also gives them the opportunity to secure space for artists. This is especially true in a city known for its skyscrapers and soaring real estate prices. The new building added 14,400 square feet to ODC’s space.

Founder and Artistic Director Brenda Way calls ODC „an art city.” Dedicated to creating a space that benefits everyone, in addition to the company and school, they have a theater that provides a platform for countless touring and local artists, a free health clinic for the dance community, a home base for six dance companies, and a public gathering space. Because ODC owns their own spaces, they can offer reduced rent or free space to support their partners, tenants and community artists when Covid closes the arts.

„One thing that stands out about ODC is that we’ve always kept our facilities debt-free, giving us options and opportunities that many dance companies don’t have,” Way says. „We’ve been able to serve the thousands of artists, students, residents and patrons who have been there for us in the darkest of times. We are, for many, a port in the storm.

Jeryl Brunner: Can you talk about your core beliefs about inclusion and accessibility? Why was it so important early in your history?

Way: Shaped by the women’s movement in New York City in the 1960s, I wanted my art to help redefine beauty by embracing diverse bodies, gender fluidity (which included powerful women and poetic men), and notions of talent rather than high legs and fast turns. . I started the company in 1971 at Oberlin College, which was the first co-ed college to admit women and people of color, so the mix of participants and the appetite for diversity was foundational. The work, regardless of the content of a particular piece, embodies an inclusive vision of humanity and gender relations that was unusual in those early days.

Brunner: Why is entrepreneurship so important to you and how do you marry that with your creative principles?

Way: Dance is a spatial art form. In our case owning the means of production means dominating the land we create. We have three buildings—two of which are debt-free, so we’re not subject to the ups and downs of rent and buses. This has allowed us to focus on the work of creating art and advance the field. Having the facility not only acts as a major catalyst for our own artistic production; This has made it possible to foster and support a wider artistic environment, working artists, audiences, students, writers, producers and a healthy dancer’s clinic. By borrowing to purchase the third building, ODC is investing in the future of the company and this community.

Brunner: Why was it important for your school to serve everyone from children to the elderly?

Kimi Okada, School Director and Associate Choreographer: All the wonderful things about being involved in the arts apply to people of all ages. Dance brings people together to share a unique experience of body, mind and spirit. Regardless of age, dance has challenges, accomplishments, joy, and fun. Regardless of their age or experience, our school welcomes everyone to a body positive and non-competitive environment that encourages everyone to dance. Our campus provides visibility and access to many dance forms. Especially for young people, exposure is important to the future of the art form.

Brunner: In addition to having a home for ODC’s own dance company, why is it important for ODC to provide a platform for artists from the region?

Chloë Zimberg, Creative Director, ODC Theatre: Through our theatre, ODC engages a wide range of artists to ensure the staying power and growth of our arts scene. ODC Theater presents experimental contemporary dance and movement, and invests deeply in the self-presentation of artists of all disciplines. Whether artists are emerging or established, trying out a new idea or touring their talent, we welcome them to our stages.

When we talk about ODC as a campus, we think of it as a home, a landing place. We recognize that to engage our audiences and communities in the vibrancy of dance that we see and feel on site every day, we need to provide them with cutting-edge dancers in our flagship company. A collective constellation of artists taking dance risks across the country. In doing so, we honor ODC’s collective roots as a multifaceted organization. We underscore our commitment to the health of the dance ecosystem, and our goal of creating a meaningful space for greater understanding of one another through dialogue, learning, and movement.

READ  'Aquaman 2' opens to $80 million overseas, 'Wonka' milestone

Dodaj komentarz

Twój adres e-mail nie zostanie opublikowany. Wymagane pola są oznaczone *