Best Dance Company - 2005
ODC/San Francisco is proof that you don't need to have an outpost in New York to be a successful dance company. Founded in 1971 by Artistic Director Brenda Way, who trained under George Balanchine, ODC is a benchmark for West Coast choreography, performing for more than 50,000 people each year. Its prolific catalog of pieces results from the fact that its 10 dancers work 42 weeks of the year; it even opens its doors to spectators interested in auditions and rehearsals. ODC's modern dance repertoire is athletic, passionate, quirky, and unpredictable -- you're just as likely to see work about underwater nihilists as you are a bit on the simple joys of doing laundry. Not only do troupe members make it look effortless, as all good dancers should, but they also make it look fun. Novices curious about active divertissement (movement memory, spontaneous composition, and similar modern dance techniques) can take ODC's classes for laypeople.