The History of O.D.C.
Welcome to Odyssey Dance Company (ODC) where we focus on each individual dancer's personal growth to give them exactly what they need to 'Discover the Artist Within'.
Our dancers go beyond technique to develop important life skills and confidence while finding belonging and friendship. We believe that dance is not only a beautiful art form but also a powerful tool for personal growth and development. Engaging in dance provides many physical and emotional benefits that go well beyond the classroom. ODC aims to 'Inspire the Artist Within.'
There's the 'on paper' introduction of our dance company... But, really, we know there's so much more to dance than just moving from step A to turn B... We learn how ART IMPACTS LIFE and, correspondingly, LIFE IMPACTS ART. This is the first ODC blog post... I could go on a whole, deeply passionate soap box... but for now, I think it's best to introduce myself and our company's history and where we are now. :-)
My name is Nicole Warren, I am the owner and artistic director of ODC. I identify first as an artist, then a dance teacher, mentor, choreographer, philanthropist, entrepreneur, etc. ( I have a lot of titles... don't we all? I think that's part of the 'dance is life' impact: while dancing, we learn to do a lot at once). I have been dancing since the age of 5... A lot of people ask me how I became a dance entrepreneur by profession. The short answer; when I was 3 years old I ran into a pole and lost all the nerve endings in my front teeth and had yellow corn for teeth... So, my self esteem was in the gutter (for a 3 year old). Thus, my parents put me in dance for the #1 reason: to BUILD CONFIDENCE. And... it worked.
Fast forward, I am now 34 years old (going on 35 in literally less than 3 months from the day I write this) and I have turned my entire life and career into advocating for the positive holistic effects dance has on the whole human and the developmental benefits dance supports. Oh, another thing about me; I am the founder and executive director of Florida's first sensory-friendly dance studio and inclusive & accommodating dance organization: Chance 2 Dance, Inc. (C2D). C2D provides children, youth, and adults with varying special needs and disabilities, inclusive and accommodating dance classes. Chance 2 Dance and Odyssey Dance Co. are both 'my companies' so I consider them 'Sister Dance Companies'. They support each other in many ways- I'll share more on that at another time. The most important thing to know, ODC dance classes are held at the Chance 2 Dance Studio in Maitland, FL. ODC dancers will have crossover time at the studio where your child will meet and engage with children- adults of varying needs, learning levels, and abilities. It's truly, one of the most special things. <3 I could go on and on... I'll gush later.
Odyssey opened in September 2018 in Casselberry, FL. to a small group of passionate dancers who wanted to 'do more'. with their dance classes, knowledge, and experiences. They were looking for a new dance place to call home. The parents knew I had just built out the C2D studio... So, ODC was realized and we began offering recreational dance classes to age 2-18 and a competitive team for those who wanted to do more with their dance experience.
Now... Here's where we think everything is about to get good: ODC grew to 60 dancers in our first season! I was beyond thrilled (I didn't even have $$ to pay for marketing) and so proud that my childhood dreams were coming to fruition... Or so I thought. Well they were, everything was so fun and yes challenging with the opening of a dance studio for a nonprofit organization and opening a new dance company for typical children... We were growing, not just the company- but my dancers! The start of season 2 had a promising trajectory, we were 'all in' dancing 'full out' mode with the spring competition season ahead of us and the recital choreography being planned and music set.... Costumes being picked out, the new year was upon us... AND THEN COVID.
COVID-19 obviously halted the world, we don't need to go into that. I can assume you can guess, my companies had to stop temporarily.... Tuition dropped, people were in different places, fearing for their lives and well being in different ways... All the things. But ultimately, life stopped and ODC and I didn't know what was next.
WE worked so hard to keep dance alive and we did! Season 3 rolled out with a very small group of competition-focused dancers, only. At that time, Fall 2020, I modified our business model to cater to the serious dancer. We offered inclusive packaged training rates with a new programming model compiled of: technique classes, choreography, company rehearsals, private lessons, special events/ experiences, etc.
Season 3 and 4 post COVID, was a blessed-struggle. Is that even a thing? A blessed struggle? Anyways, my point is; life was still hard and difficult for everyone and everything. We did again, 'all the things' post COVID everyone else did to stay alive and hopefully thrive. We could not host a traditional recital, so we got creative! ODC hosted a video production performance viewing... We had spent Season 3 as a company, traveling across Central Florida, to film on-site at cool, special, unique landscapes around our hometown and made dance videos. Ya'll, I learned how to fly a drone for this time in our company's history! A drone! We did specialty, themed photoshoots, teachers traveled to all the dancers for a dance mash-up parade, we had an outside stage performance (dads brought an RV and grilled at it), and we slowly started getting back into theaters and competing.
Season 4 and most recently Season 5, we started seeing the traditional, dance world come back to life. Classes, choreography, rehearsals, & competitions were back in full swing again. Our company dancers, being a 'committed, serious- dancer', focused company; were growing insanely fast! These kids came in barely being able to do a single pirouettes or balance on 1 let... In less than 3 seasons they were doing multiple, amazing turn combinations, leaps, extensions, and their flexibility and strength were proving our programming was doing exactly as we intended: building quality, well-rounded dancers at an expedited rate.
Well, while our dancers were growing insanely fast, our company was not. It's 'normal' to have a recreational program to grow dancers within a studio who then later if they want to do more with their dance classes can join a more commitment based competition team/ company. We didn't have that. I had an inclusive, special needs organization I was also focused on and a competitive team... It seemed like enough. But, the awareness that life post COVID was officially 'back to normal', I decided in the spring of 2023, it was time ODC open classes back up to the community to share dance for all interest and experience levels.
So here we are... It's ODC Season 6! Odyssey registration is open and live. Dance classes begin August 14, 2023 at the C2D Studio. We are so excited to have toddler dancers again to put on their tutus and twirl around. We are thrilled to offer combo and select style classes for the dancer who is new or a beginner, even intermediate- advanced dancers will find our classes a quality experience.
Odyssey Dance and I invite you to join us for a special season of dance in 2023. Find yourself immersed in a dance family committed to growing with the dancer. We are proud to continue to serve the greater Orlando community and we look forward to dancing with you!