Program areas at ODC
Despite the unprecedented disruptions and challenges of covid-19 in 2020, Odc maintained its status as one of the most active and impactful centers for contemporary dance on the west coast. By transforming class offerings, performances, and educational/mentoring programs to broadcast and on-demand digital formats, Odc was able to keep delivering its unique mission and meeting its dual commitment to both artistic rigor and access. Covid continued to undermine the organization's ability to rebuild its earned income through 2021 with new surges, continued restrictions to in- person activity for gyms, theaters and schools, and complex relationships to vaccine and booster access-especially for youth and teen students. Odc responded by leveraging its ability to deliver activity through video conferencing and on-demand digital content, and to move quickly to present in-person activities during allowed periods. Notable in-person activities included being able to return to presenting Odc's annual fall for art fundraiser. Odc also continued its 35-year tradition of presenting its original family holiday ballet, "velveteen rabbit," as part of the organization's commitment to access and community engagement. The company traditionally serves more than 2,000 students and educators from underserved local schools with admission-free performances of "the velveteen rabbit- and companion outreach activities: 7+ hours of standards-based lessons/educational materials for educators and students. In 2019, the organization translated educational guides and supporting activity books for students into multiple languages. In 2020, Odc created digital versions of its educational outreach activities which, in combination with an archival filmed version of "the velveteen rabbit" performance allowed Odc to keep serving title 1 school students in the bay area, and to expand that outreach to serve communities of underserved schools around the country. In 2021 Odc took advantage of its ability to convene dancers together to perform live (even when full audiences were not allowed in municipal owned theaters in san francisco) by capturing a professional filmic staging and capture of "the velveteen rabbit." This dance film asset will allow the organization to provide both paid, public access to the performance on its digital platform for audiences across the country long-term, and provide meaningful, enriching and standards-based arts content in on-demand digital format for school students across the country. Featured in the 2021 filmic capture and live presentations of "the velveteen rabbit" for limited capacity audiences, Odc returned to its tradition of welcoming a "kids cast" of young student dancers to perform alongside professional company members. Unlike past years in which these young students were typically 7-9 years old, this year's cast of youth performers were drawn from 12+ year old class cohorts in order to meet the requirement that all performers were vaccinated. These youth performers were compensated and provided with continuing on-set school instruction in compliance with all local, state and film industry regulations. Also notable in 2021 was Odc's successful move to bring each of its eleven-member professional dance company members to year-round employment with full benefits including vacation and access to retirement savings accounts. With this, Odc became one of the first contemporary dance companies in the united states to offer its professional company members full-time, year-round employment. Prior to the pandemic, Odc school offered more than 125 classes per week in a wide variety of genres. The student base is normally 16,000 annual participants ranging in age from 2 years-old to 90+ and representing all abilities. The school also typically engages and employs approximately 100 faculty and accompanists. By utilizing on-line, digital platforms for live dance and fitness instruction Odc during periods of required shut down or restriction of activity, Odc continued to anchor a creative work force in the bay area by providing a rare, consistent employment opportunity for dance artists and educators through the pandemic. Participation and income were severely restricted by requirements to offer activities exclusively on-line, but Odc is proud and grateful to have been able to sustain its mission and deeply engage a significant segment of its community. Odc school's scholarship program traditionally supports access to creativity and dance for more than 20% of its annual youth and teen student population, with 34,637 raised in dedicated scholarship funds and 26 scholarships awarded in the 2021-22 school year. In addition to delivering classes in an on-line format, the Odc school continued serving its pre-professional and youth and teen students program by expanding content and curriculum to include "how to dance for the camera". This program helped support creative outlets for students while also promoting connection and learning with peers as well as professional choreographers and filmmakers. To ensure our awareness of youth and teen student needs and those of their families, Odc convened a standing parents' advisory committee to advise and inform school and leadership staff. In 2021, Odc expanded its health centered programming through the healthy dancers' clinic, and with dance informed fitness classes designed to welcome the widest spectrum of movers at all levels into the creativity and health benefits of life-long movement. Odc continued on-line activity and convened in-person activities, when possible, for dancers and movers who identify as seniors. Since its founding, Odc's professional dance company has performed for more than 2 million people in 43 states and 13 countries. "built on risk and nerve" (new york times), Odc has a long tradition of developing and premiering original works by choreographers brenda way, kimi okada, and resident choreographers kt nelson and kate weare as well as showcasing a wide range of award-winning repertory which currently consists of more than 144 works. Before the pandemic's shelter in place mandates shut down live performance in march of 2020, Odc was presented at the renowned joyce theater in new york, and appeared at the 2020 apap showcase also in new york city. In 2021 Odc was able to return, albeit in extremely limited form, to live national tours when both san francisco and destination cities and venue covid protocols matched and allowed for travel and in-person public performance. Though limited, this return to national touring was vital to continue to Odc's artistic reputation, maintain its national audience, and honor contractual agreements with presenting institutions. Odc continued to find creative, responsive ways to provide access to art- making/filmic resources and to actively nurture the bay area's arts ecosystem. The organization launched its queer bipoc space residency program, maintained space access through its theater and studio space access programs, and eagerly began long-term planning for the needs of artists in and returning to the bay area post-covid-all anchored by Odc's historic commitment and practice of granting more than 8,500 hours of studio and space rental amounting to more than 76,000 in discounts and in-kind support to artists, peer arts organizations, and fellow, local non-profits.