ODC/Dance Presents: Dance Downtown
Celebrating ODC's 50+ Anniversary
Five decades of virtuosic, exuberant, and fearless dance
Digital Encores available through May 31, 2022
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Dance Downtown features two seminal works by ODC Founder and Artistic Director Brenda Way that exemplify the company's emotional and virtuosic choreographic style: Investigating Grace and Speaking Volumes.
The season will also feature world premieres by Guest Choreographers Amy Seiwert and Dexandro Montalvo, two innovative artistic voices who have long histories with ODC. Seiwert, a former ODC Theater Artist in Residence, most recently directed Sacramento Ballet and continues to direct Amy Seiwert’s Imagery, the company she founded in 2011; Montalvo is a choreographer, dancer, and educator, and the former director of Dance Theatre of San Francisco.
Relive the exhilarating live performances of Dance Downtown from the best seat in the house on-demand through May 31, 2022.
Program A: Saturday, April 9 - Tuesday, May 31, 2022
Program B: Saturday, April 16 - Tuesday, May 31, 2022
On-demand programs also include exclusive behind-the-scenes insight into the works and interviews with the artists.
- Program A - On Renewal
On demand Saturday, April 9 - Tuesday, May 31, 2022
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Choreography by Dexandro Montalvo
Vámonos is an ebullient full-company movement outpouring blending hip hop, ballet and contemporary forms in a new work that celebrates individuality and embraces change. With a call to everyone in the room, dancers and members of the audience alike, Vámonos urges us to look forward to the joys that we’ve missed, gathering together in celebration of live art and moving together.
Choreography by Brenda Way
Commissioned Score by Jay Cloidt
Set and Lighting Design by Alexander V. Nichols
Costume Design by Laurel Hellman
Speaking Volumes begins as a solo, a single idea, and accumulates over the course of the piece to a group of 30 dancers (including ODC alumnae, Dance Jam and community members) who together embody what can be built from collective action.
- Program B - On Reflection
On demand Saturday, April 16 - Tuesday, May 31, 2022
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Choreography by Amy Seiwert
Music by Leonard Cohen
Lighting Design by Jim French
Projections by Olivia Ting
Costume Design by Kyo Yohena
In No Alibi, Amy Seiwert's exploration of Leonard Cohen's art centers his words, weaving Cohen's classic recordings with covers from Roberta Flack, Nina Simone, and Joe Cocker. Cohen was right, we can hear him from his "Tower of Song" after his death in 2016. His iconic songs are still being re-imagined, keeping his art alive and evolving in the pop lexicon. Though reminiscent of an era, his poetry expresses a timeless view of joy, desire, and heartbreak.
Seiwert says, "I often say dance expresses what words can't hold. But some poets' words hold worlds. A line of verse can hit viscerally. That feeling, that moment of impact, is where the connection begins."
Tracks include Cohen classics such as Suzanne (Recording by Nina Simone), Famous Blue Raincoat, and Dance Me to the End of Love.
Choreography by Brenda Way
Music by J.S. Bach
Lighting Design by Alexander V. Nichols
Costume Design by Sandra Woodall
Named an NEA American Masterpiece in 2011, Brenda Way’s deeply personal Investigating Grace is a brilliant reflection on the vicissitudes of life danced to Glenn Gould’s youthful and intense performance of Bach’s Goldberg Variations.
- Brenda Way
Founder, Artistic Director
Brenda Way 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, community performance and training venues in San Francisco’s Mission District. She launched ODC and helped create an inter-arts department at Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music in the late 1960's before relocating to the Bay Area in 1976.
Brenda has choreographed more than 85 pieces over the last 45 years. Her commissions include Unintended Consequences: A Meditation (2008) Equal Justice Society; Life is a House (2008) San Francisco Girls Chorus; 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, 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. Her work Investigating Grace was named an NEA American Masterpiece in 2011.
- Dexandro Montalvo
Born and raised in New York, Montalvo is a San Francisco based director, choreographer, dancer, and dance educator. A professional dancer with Robert Moses Kin and various other companies for over 6 seasons, his choreographic commissions include works for RMK, Liss Fain Dance Company, LINES Ballet Training Program/Summer Program, The Black Eyed Peas, DanceWorks Chicago, MINI (USA), Mini Amp Live, SF Ballet School, Concept o4, Dance Mission’s Dance Brigade, Sleepy Hollow Performing Arts Center, Cardinal Ballet, University of SF Dance Ensemble, Marin School of the Arts, & the ODC Dance Jam. Montalvo and his choreography have appeared on the MTV, BET, Telemundo and Fox networks. Montalvo is a past Artistic Director of the Dance Theatre of San Francisco (in his tenure DTSF won two of the four Isadora Duncan award nominations including “Outstanding Choreography” for his ballet, “Pent”). Additionally, he was awarded a 2019 Saint Louis Inner Circle Award for “Such Sweet Thunder”, won an Izzie Award for his choreography in “Art Behind Bars” in 2014 and was nominated for another with “Impluse” in 2015 (RMK commission).
As a dance educator, Montalvo currently teaches at SF Ballet, USF, Dominican University of California (LINES BFA Program), LINES Ballet Training Program & ODC Dance Commons. Dexandro also serves as Assistant Director and Rehearsal Master of ODC’s pre-professional teen company. He has also taught at many other schools including Stanford University, SUNY Purchase College and Sleepy Hollow Performing Arts Center. Montalvo holds a BFA in Dance from SUNY Purchase College.
Photo by Andrea Basil
- Amy Seiwert
Amy Seiwert serves as the Artistic Director of the San Francisco contemporary ballet company, Imagery. She enjoyed a nineteen-year performing career with Smuin, LA Chamber, and Sacramento Ballets. As a dancer with Smuin Contemporary Ballet she was mentored under the wing of the late Michael Smuin and was the company’s Choreographer in Residence from 2008-2018. Named one of “25 to Watch” by Dance Magazine, SF Chronicle called her first full evening of choreography a “Top 10” dance event (2007.) Other awards include an IZZIE Award for Outstanding Choreography and a “Goldie” from the Bay Guardian. Her ballets have been supported by the NEA, The Rainin Foundation, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and the Joyce Theater in New York City. A former Resident Artist at ODC Theater, her ballets are in the repertory of Ballet Austin, Washington, Atlanta, Oakland, Colorado, Louisville, Cincinnati, Oklahoma City, Milwaukee, and American Repertory Ballets as well as Robert Moses KIN and AXIS Dance. Seiwert served as Artistic Director of Sacramento Ballet from 2018-2020.
Photo by Steve DiBartolomeo
Images by RJ Muna
ODC graciously thanks the following institutions for their support of Dance Downtown:
Bernard Osher Foundation
John and Marcia Goldman Foundation
National Endowment for the Arts
SF Grants for the Arts
U.S. Small Business Administration
William and Flora Hewlett Foundation