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Parties: The Joy of Dance

by Jennifer Massoni Pardini

On April 1, gold balloons danced on a light San Francisco breeze as a similarly hued carpet led a sold-out crowd to ODC/Dance’s 50+ Anniversary celebration at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. To celebrate “five decades of fearless dance,” YBCA’s Forum was transformed with costumes and set pieces from ODC/Dance works, along with an elegant ice chandelier (yes, hanging from the ceiling!).

After a decadent McCalls dinner paired with Coppola wines, all eyes were on the dance company’s world premiere, Vámonos, from guest choreographer Dexandro Montalvo, as well as a remounting of Investigating Grace, a signature work by Brenda Way, founding artistic director of ODC, which she started in 1971. “This was a gala for the ages,” Way said, “celebrating our 50+ years and, equally, our reentry into the joy of live performance.”

Nearly 400 guests, including gala honorary cochairs Eleanor Coppola and David Landis, then headed to the after-party — and the dance floor — for a performance by Kippy Marks and a set from DJ Aunteesam. The event raised $425,000 to support ODC’s vision to foster inclusivity and diversity through dance.

“As many incredible events as I have gone to, this was by far the most memorable opening gala for me and my husband [Bill] and our twins, William and Catherine,” said philanthropist and gala committee member Navid Armstrong. “It was as if we were all gathered in our best friend’s home to celebrate a 50th birthday party.”

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