In a holiday performance landscape populated by an endless procession of Nutcrackers, Nutcracker spinoffs and Nutcracker knockoffs, San Francisco’s compassionate ODC Dance Company proffers a refreshing alternative. The Velveteen Rabbit, in its 25th anniversary season, is a lively and engaging retelling of Margery Williams’ classic children’s story. The piece, which features a bevy of talented local children in addition to ODC’s adult dancers, runs through December 11 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.
Through innovative choreography by co-artistic director KT Williams, with music by Benjamin Britten, the ballet tells the story of a little boy who is particularly attached to his stuffed rabbit. Of course, the child perceives the rabbit as fully alive, but can the boy’s overwhelming love transform the toy into real flesh and fur?
Nelson discovered The Velveteen Rabbit when she read the book to her young son. The themes of loyalty and commitment, the inevitability of transformation and the power of love undergird the charming dance piece.
An offstage Narrator helps ensure children keep up with the storyline. Colorful sets and costumes by Brian Wildsmith, magical lighting, and the buoyant movements of ODC’s versatile ensemble add up to enchanting dance theater that is certain to continue delighting San Francisco audiences for decades to come.