ODC/Dance Artists & Biographies

KT Nelson, Choreographer

KT Nelson joined ODC/Dance in 1976 and partners with Brenda Way in directing the ODC/Dance company. KT choreographed and directed ODC/Dance’s first full-length family ballet in 1986, The Velveteen Rabbit. The production has become a holiday tradition in the Bay Area, engaging generations of dance performance attendees, young and less so.  

KT has been awarded the Isadora Duncan Dance Award four times: in 1987 for Outstanding Performance, in 1996 and 2012 for Outstanding Choreography, and in 2001 for Sustained Achievement. Her collaborators have included Bobby McFerrin, Geoff Hoyle, Amy Siewert, Na Hoon Park, Brenda Way, Kate Weare, Zap Mama, and Joan Jeanrenaud. In 2008, her work RingRounRozi, in collaboration with French-Canadian composer Linda Bouchard, was selected to be performed at the Tanzmesse International Dance Festival. 

In addition to her work as a choreographer, Nelson ran the summer dance department for Center for Creative Youth at Wesleyan University from 2003 to 2006, and founded the ODC Dance Jam in 1997. Over the last 25 years, Nelson has played a major role in defining and implementing ODC’s ongoing and project-based outreach programs. She has mentored the Margaret Jenkins CHIME project and continues to mentor emerging artists in the Bay Area and abroad. 

Joby Talbot, Composer  

Joby Talbot was born in London in 1971. He studied composition privately with Brian Elias and at Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, before completing a Master of Music (Composition) at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama under Simon Bainbridge.  

Highlights from among Talbot’s diverse catalogue include the narrative ballets Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (2011) and The Winter’s Tale (2014), both collaborations with choreographer Christopher Wheeldon for The Royal Ballet and National Ballet of Canada that have since entered the repertory of companies worldwide; the choral Path of Miracles (2005), a 60-minute a cappella journey along the Camino de Santiago commissioned by Nigel Short’s Tenebrae and performed regularly by international ensembles; arrangements of songs by Detroit rock duo The White Stripes alongside Talbot’s original works for choreographer Wayne McGregor’s unparalleled Chroma (The Royal Ballet, 2006); Worlds, Stars, Systems, Infinity (2012) as an additional movement to Holst’s The Planets for the Philharmonia Orchestra’s interactive digital installation, Universe of Sound, under Esa-Pekka Salonen; Genus Quartet (2013) for Los Angeles’s acclaimed Calder Quartet, premiered as part of the Barbican’s weekend of new music curated by Nico Muhly; and the hugely popular animated feature Sing (Garth Jennings, 2016) for Illumination Entertainment (Despicable Me, Minions). For the BBC Proms, Talbot has written The Wishing Tree (The King’s Singers, 2002); Sneaker Wave (BBC National Orchestra of Wales, 2004); and an arrangement of Purcell’s Chacony in G Minor (BBC Symphony Orchestra, 2011). Further orchestral highlights include Desolation Wilderness (2006), a trumpet concerto for Alison Balsom and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra; and Meniscus (2013) to mark World Environment Day at China’s National Centre for the Performing Arts.