Four world premieres during the two-week run of "ODC/Dance Downtown" prove there's something to be said for long-term creative leadership. Both artistic director Brenda Way and coartistic director KT Nelson have been with the company since before it relocated to San Francisco 31 years ago. And yet neither of them shows any sign of artistic burnout.
In Program One, Nelson's free-spirited Scramble, set to Bach's (overamplified) Cello Suite no. 6 in D Major, was an easy charmer for two couples in various combinations. Anne Zivolich and Daniel Santos ODC's most balletically elegant dancer opened the piece on a note of airborne high; their antics were nicely balanced by the slow movements of Elizabeth Farotte and Justin Flores. With an evocative video by Hiraki Sawa and a serviceable score by David Lang, Way's A Pleasant Looking Woman in Sensible Clothes contemplated the fear that has entered the daily lives of ordinary people. Sawa's video of domesticity, which was invaded by a mounting number of toy airplanes, created a growing sense of terror and suffocation one that the choreography only partially reflected.
The 1999 piece Investigating Grace concluded the evening on about as inspiring a note as one would wish. Surely, this extraordinarily beautiful and musically astute setting of Bach's Goldberg Variations is one of Way's enduring masterpieces. (Rita Felciano)
Through March 18, $10$40
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater
701 Howard, SF