ODC Stories: Chuck Wilt

chuck wiltAs ODC Theater wrapped up its season exploring home and displacement with Rosy Simas Danse, former ODC Youth & Teen student Chuck Wilt had his own homecoming as a professional choreographer.  Chuck returned with his dance company Una Projects to present Rodeo and Ships and Salsa at ODC Theater.

“ODC was my first home for dance and I still carry it with me everywhere.” – Chuck Wilt

As a member of the teen company, the Dance Jam, from 2007-2009, Chuck danced 20+ hours a week, honing not only his technique and performance skills, but also learning the ins and outs of producing dance. Chuck shared, “Not only was I opened up to new ways of thinking and dancing at ODC, but I was surrounded by a warm, encouraging, and supportive family.”

Chuck graduated from Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA in Dance in 2013. He was selected to study abroad at the Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance (SEAD), was awarded a scholarship to Jacob’s Pillow Contemporary Program, and attended Hofesh Shechter’s intensive in London. He has also studied Ohad Naharin’s movement language, Gaga, in New York City, San Francisco, and Tel Aviv for several years.

Then and now: Chuck Wilt as a student at ODC and as a dancer today.

In a Q&A after this month’s performances, Chuck shared that he appreciates being able to come back to San Francisco where there is more space for artistic exploration. For Chuck, the fast pace of life in New York City, coupled with the pressure to succeed, can squash the creative process. Check reflected that “every time I come back to San Francisco, it feels like I can breathe, think and process.”

Another benefit of coming home is that Chuck can spend time with his artistic mentor and former teacher, ODC Co-Artistic Director KT Nelson. When in New York, he sends her videos of his work and KT sends feedback via email and Skype. Nelson shared, “Chuck has serious talent as a performer, choreographer and dance film maker. I look forward to seeing how his vision develops over the next decade and I am privileged to be his mentor.”

Chuck mentioned that with his work, he seeks to encourage dancers’ individuality and humanity, rather than emphasizing a more presentational style. This perhaps is a legacy of his artistic upbringing at ODC.

chuck wilts work_video

A video highlighting Chuck Wilt’s choreography for Una Projects

One of the most poignant moments of Chuck’s return to his dance home was the opportunity to give back and teach the next generation of Dance Jammers in a master class. Now, he is a professional dancer, teacher, and artistic director. We’re so proud of Chuck’s accomplishments and can’t wait to see where his art will take him next!

Mission Local’s profile of Chuck Wilt


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