By: Madaket Bartkowiak
There is a unique silence in the world created by an audience in that moment as the curtain rises. It is a silence that ripples with expectancy: questions seeking answers, dreams seeking definition, and hearts seeking wonder. It is in this precise moment, that Summer Odell, artistic director of Artesan Dance Company, is suspended by the anticipation of what is about to unfold on stage with people in a room who have no idea what journey they are about to begin.
Odell discovered her talent for choreography during her time as a dance instructor for a local private school where she began teaching in 2001. By 2006, Odell felt the need to expand her artistic vision by creating the Artesan Dance Company. A company that would “change the way the world sees and experiences dance”. Beginning with three dancers, she developed various short works and saw her company grow to the extent that by May of 2009 Artesan’s first full-length work, Fusion, debuted at the Cascade Theater in Redding, CA breaking previous box office records of tickets sold.
In 2010, Odell was honored with the opportunity of presenting her work for Bravura, a performance collective celebrating the work of local artists and choreographers of Northern California. Odell was then invited to create new work for her company at the Centre National de la Danse (CND) in Paris, France. Artesan then performed Fusion at the Casino de Paris in Paris, France as the headliner for “Education is the Key to their Future Project”. Upon returning to the United States, Odell’s work “Insides” premiered at the Shasta College Theatre Showcase in Redding, CA and received a standing ovation.
Artesan returned to the Cascade Theater in 2011 with their world premiere of Fusion: Breaking into New Worlds Through Dance. Odell and Company members of Artesan then collaborated with the West Valley High School dance students to create The Fusion Project. Next, Odell explored the season of Winter in and through interpersonal relationships. This gave birth to her new work, Winterland. Odell was selected in 2011 to participate in the Complicité Theater Company workshop at the Saddlers Wells Theatre in London, England as a young emerging choreographer and artist.
Odell is committed to developing strong healthy and versatile dancers who are rooted in authentic movement and desire to transform their bodies into a powerful and effective voice. “Inspiration goes both ways,” states Odell. “As much as a dancer needs to be inspired by me I also need to be inspired by them and how they move and what they bring. You don't always have that with everyone even if they are extremely talented.” This mutual commitment and trust between Odell and her dancers creates the space for electrifying breakthrough performances and new revelations in movement. “I am fascinated by the incredible design of the body, all the ways that it can move and bend, it's strength, vulnerability, and beauty. We create moving art.” - Summer Odell