ODC, anchoring the dance community in the Mission, spans a dance company, a school, a free screening dancer injury clinic, a community space, a pilates center, and the soon-to-be renovated theater at 17th and Shotwell. Locals attribute ODC to helping clean up Shotwell between 17th and 18th, and when construction is finished this summer, this small strip will also boast three new studios, staff offices, a brand new 170+-seat theater and adjoining green room, and a cafe/coffee shop.

Brenda Way, artistic director of ODC, attributed the renovation’s success to loyal supporters, and listening to her elaborate during a sneak peek renovation tour, it’s easy to see why they’re so enthralled. Speaking about the Dance Commons, the space along the eastern side of Shotwell that houses the current studios, community space, 100-seat studio theater, and programs, she remarked that there’s, “something encouraging about having people there.” The classes are filled, people are collaborating and using the community spaces, and the performances, while in a small space, are filled, which is highly motivating to the dancers, choreographers, and staff.

Later on, Rob Bailis, theater director, talked about the theater’s new programming, which will include local choreographers along with visiting companies. His goal is for audiences to recognize the ODC Theater as hosting “extremely well-conceived, high end, performing arts.” He also detailed the theater construction, which will retain the red brick walls, and feature nailed-down seating and a tech booth. In addition, the space will be rigged for aerial work. Wheeee!

Besides the final construction, there are a few odds and ends that need to be wrapped up like usage of the theater’s entryway space and acquisition of a washer and dryer for performing companies. Some of the ODC dancers, who will not even perform in this new space (they command larger audiences and use the theater at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts), seemed concerned for their visiting counterparts and offered to inquire about donations through Home Depot and the like. So HD, Sears, Lowes, etc., if you have a heart and would like to help through a donation of a washer/dryer with nifty settings for costumes, please contact ODC.

All photos: Becca Hirschman, for the Appeal
the author

Becca Klarin writes about dance. Her first stage role was at the age of four, where she dressed in a brightly colored bumble bee tutu and black patent leather taps shoes. She remembers bright lights and spinning in circles with her eleven other bees, but nothing more. Becca also has an affinity for things beginning with the letter "P", including Pizzetta 211, Fort Point, pilates, parsvakonasana, and plies.

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