Curiosity Expert: Brenda Way

Founder and Artistic Director, Oberlin Dance Collective

Brenda Way
Courtesy of Brenda Way

Brenda Way received her early training at The School of American Ballet and Ballet Arts in New York City. She is the Founder and Artistic Director of ODC Dance and creator of the ODC Theater and ODC Dance Commons, community performance and training venues in San Francisco's Mission District. Way launched ODC and helped establish an inter-arts department at Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music in the late 60s before relocating to the Bay Area in 1976. She has choreographed some 80 pieces over the last 40 years. Among her commissions are Unintended Consequences: A Meditation (2008) Equal Justice Society; Life is a House (2008) San Francisco Girls Chorus; On a Train Heading South (2005) CSU Monterey Bay; Remnants of Song (2002) Stanford Lively Arts; Scissors Paper Stone (1994) Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater; Western Women (1993) Cal Performances, Rutgers University and Jacob's Pillow; Ghosts of an Old Ceremony (1991) Walker Art Center and The Minnesota Orchestra; Krazy Kat (1990) San Francisco Ballet; This Point in Time (1987) Oakland Ballet; Tamina (1986) San Francisco Performances; and Invisible Cities (1985) for Stanford Lively Arts and the Robotics Research Laboratory. Way is a national spokesperson for dance, has published widely, and has received numerous awards and 35 years of support from the National Endowment for the Arts. She is a 2000 recipient of the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship and in 2009 was the first choreographer to be a Resident of the Arts at the American Academy in Rome. Way holds a Ph.D. in aesthetics and is the mother of four children.