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ODC

Author John Cech
Air Date 8/24/2000

ODC Transcript

This is “Recess!” and this is John Cech. We’re talking about some of the things that are happening in the world of children’s culture.

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It’s American Dance Week, and we attended a performance for young people by the ODC/San Francisco, the internationally known dance troupe, which was in a month-long residence here at the University of Florida, creating original dance works for and with the children of this area. These aren’t classically-oriented dances, in which children first have to master prescribed positions and steps. Rather, the dances derive from the movements that children naturally use in their daily lives, especially in their play. You can even hear the sounds of the playground in one of the dances, “In Dreams,” which weaves together the rolls, leaps, skips, tumbles, and other gymnastics of a good game of tag — performed here by a group of 7 child and 5 adult dancers.

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Another dance called “The Night We Slept in Trees,” is a moving reverie, done to the hanging music of Madradeus, in which children are cocooned in long columns of transparent fabric that descend from the darkness above the stage. The adult dancers who appear in this piece wear wonderful masks — they lift and carry and balance in complete harmony with the children and serve, for their young charges, as the gentle guides through the world of fantasy. In fact, the adults are the embodiments of the imaginative powers that the children already possess.

“Blue,” the last of these three gems, was choreographed and performed with a group of deaf children. It borrows, in part, from the idea of musical chairs, configuring the performers in front, behind, and on top of a row of chairs. To this fresh use of form the ODC add the new textures of Thomas Hudson’s score and an original poem by one of the choreographers, Felipe Sacon, which overlaps and repeats, binding together the vibrations of language, music, sensation, and movement into an intricate, resonant, breathtaking dance:

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If you ever have a change to see the ODC/San Francisco don’t miss the opportunity — whether it is their signature piece for adults, Investigating Grace,” done to Bach’s Goldberg Variations, or the original work they do with children, in the Bay Area and around the country. The company and their artistic directors, Brenda Way and KT Nelson are making astonishing magic.

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