Kambara (aloft) in Brenda Way's Waving Not Drowning (A Guide to Elegance)

Sometimes you get the confidence to pursue a new path from unexpected places. When Yayoi Kambara of San Francisco–based company ODC/Dance decided she wanted to stop performing full-time, co-artistic director KT Nelson gave her the confidence and support to become a choreographer.

“When I brought up leaving the company, I remember KT saying, ‘When we were on tour at White Oak on Halloween, I saw you paint your pumpkin this amazing purple-pink color. I knew you were really an artist.’ That cracked me up! I thought, ‘Wait, that’s what it took?’ KT said, ‘You’re really visual. I think you should definitely choreograph.’ And that was it. KT helped me have a four-year plan of transitioning out of ODC and onto a new path.”

See Kambara + Dancers in Common Place: Dances by Khamla Somphanh and Yayoi Kambara tonight and tomorrow at 8 pm at ODC Dance Commons in San Francisco.

Photo by RJ Muna, courtesy of ODC/Dance

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Jeremy Smith and Yayoi Kambara

When Jeremy Smith, now with San Francisco's ODC/Dance, was a student at Florida State University, modern teacher Lynda Davis put him through his paces.

“Her classes were rigorous. One of her methods was to have us do the same phrase for long stretches of time, maybe 15–20 minutes for just one exercise. At the time it seemed crazy, but what ended up happening was that I built memory and endurance, and I started having more efficiency in my body. I learned to do things in the most practical manner.”

Smith stars as “The Boy” in ODC’s production of The Velveteen Rabbit running through Sunday, December 13, at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater in San Francisco.

Photo by RJ Muna, courtesy of ODC/Dance

Don’t miss a single issue of Dance Teacher.


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