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My review of the gala opening in today’s Chronicle:

“To see ODC/Dance blazing through KT Nelson’s “Walk Before Talk” on Thursday was to understand why the troupe, now celebrating its 37th year, is not only San Francisco’s most firmly established modern dance company but also its most civically embraced. The ODC ethos is all there in that explosively joyful finale. This is a world where the movement is as jazzy as it is athletic, where the women are brash and the men beautiful, where rugged individuality builds team togetherness. No wonder ODC has become a hub for West Coast dance, with its welcoming 23,000-square-foot, $9.5 million center hosting more than 180 classes a week in the Mission.

The three women who lead ODC have always contended that their dances reflect their vision of community, and as the company’s local prominence has shot up, so apparently has its creativity. This latest home season at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts will unveil five world premieres over three weeks – or as founder and Artistic Director Brenda Way said before curtain at the gala opening, “What got into us?” The excitement that must have fueled that prolific output, though, wasn’t yet leaping off the stage Thursday. Neither of Way’s two new works is a dud, and each has attractions. But both left muted impressions.

“Unintended Consequences: A Meditation” is the more memorable, mostly for Alexander V. Nichols’ visual design: an exposed light grid overhead and two fluorescent vertical bars that stand like a Space Age detention cell at the back (Way’s own costumes clothe the nine dancers in shades of gray and green). The music is by Laurie Anderson – selections from her album “Big Science,” including an ironic celebration of urban sprawl laid over what suggests an Indian drumbeat – and the atmosphere is appropriately dystopian. “Unintended Consequences” is a co-commission from the Equal Justice Society, which must help explain, but not much, the conceptually tacked-on finish in which Corey Brady finds himself trapped between those fluorescent lights.”

Click here for the full review.

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