Hoppin’ holidays with ‘Velveteen Rabbit’

Showcasing the special bond between a young boy and his cherished stuffed animal, Margery Williams’ classic children’s book “The Velveteen Rabbit” is, starting today at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, once again being brought to life by ODC/Dance for the holidays.

A Bay Area family favorite, the production was created by ODC Co-artistic Director KT Nelson in 1986, and over the years has grown from a simple, bare-bones affair into a full-fledged mix of dance, music, art and storytelling.

While the performances are geared toward young children, Nelson says the show also appeals to older audience members: “All of us have been kids, and many of us have been parents, so I think there are messages in the story about what it means to have someone you love endlessly, and what it means to get old and worn out. Those are the two ends of it that I think many of us can relate to in our various walks in life.”

The production’s dancing and action are accompanied by narration of the book’s text on a soundtrack. At first, that seemed odd to some in the dance community, but to Nelson it seemed perfectly natural.

She says, “A lot of people don’t understand dance, but because of the narration, people understand what’s going on. It gave me freedom to choreograph the emotional role of the characters, not the story. I think Margery Williams has a wonderful language, she talks about some serious things without getting too saccharine or too preachy; she has fun with it.”

Over the years, “The Velveteen Rabbit’s” tradition has expanded to include special events, including a “studio to stage” program earlier this month in which families were invited to learn dances from the production, which Nelson says gives the audience “a greater investment in the work.”

Additional programs accompanying this year’s performances are a grandparents and photo day today; a milk and cookies party Sunday, a dress-up day and bunny petting zoo on Dec. 5, and more bunny petting Dec. 6 and 12.

 

IF YOU GO
The Velveteen Rabbit
Presented by ODC/Dance

Where: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater, 700 Howard St., San Francisco
When: 2 p.m. today, Saturday, Sunday, Dec. 6 and Dec. 13; 11 a.m. Dec. 3-4 and Dec. 10-11; 1 and 4 p.m. Dec. 12; closes Dec. 13
Tickets: $15 to $45
Contact: (415) 978-2787, www.odcdance.org

artsentertainmentODC/DanceOther ArtsVelveteen Rabbit

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Chelsea Hung, who owns Washington Bakery and Restaurant in Chinatown with her mother, said the restaurant is only making about 30 percent of pre-pandemic revenues. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Chinatown’s slow recovery has business owners fearing for the future

Lack of outside visitors threatens to push neighborhood into ‘downward spiral’

San Francisco Symphony Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen and members of the orchestra were thrilled to be back inside Davies Symphony Hall on May 6 in a program for first responders featuring string works by Jean Sibelius, George Walker, Carl Nielsen, Caroline Shaw and Edward Grieg. (Courtesy Stefan Cohen/San Francisco Symphony)
SF Symphony makes joyful return to Davies Hall

Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts program for first responders and community leaders

Students in an after-school community hub move quickly through a social circle as they play a game at the Mission YMCA on Friday, May 7, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Parents scramble for ‘Summer Together’ spaces

City program offering free camps sees high demand, confusion over enrollment

Jazz pianist and composer Jon Jang is an instructor at Community Music Center in the Mission District. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Jon Jang composes bittersweet symphonies

Musician-activist’s works are steeped in civil rights history

Calfire (Shutterstock)
Wildfires burn around Northern California during first red flag weekend of the year

Firefighters around the region battled wildfires all day Saturday, starting less than… Continue reading

Most Read