Photo Credit: axisdance.org
When it comes to inclusive dance, AXIS Dance Company is truly a pioneer in the field. Founded in 1987, AXIS is the nation’s most acclaimed ensemble of disabled and non-disabled performers based in Oakland, CA. Since its inception, this dance company has integrated dance and the disability culture using high-profile choreographers and talented dancers to bring eye-opening performances to life. In its most recent project, AXIS teamed up with UK-based choreographer, Arthur Pita, to address the surge of homelessness in San Francisco in a surreal way. 'In-ter-twine: Alice in Californiland' will run this weekend, Oct. 25-27, at Z Space (450 Florida St.) in San Francisco.
At the heart of AXIS Dance Company are three pillars of activity: artistry, engagement, and advocacy. Many of the company's efforts are focused on the commissioning, creating, and performance of contemporary dance that's developed through a collaboration of dancers with and without physical disabilities. The AXIS outreach program began in 1989 in direct response to a community demand by people who saw the company’s performances and wanted to study integrated dance.
As an innovator of the integrated dance genre, AXIS creates quality opportunities locally and abroad for people with disabilities to engage in dance. It does this by championing access, inclusion, and equity for people with disabilities both in dance and in the Oakland area community. Since AXIS is committed to such a high performance quality, the company has toured to over 100 cities in the U.S., Israel, UK, Europe, and Russia. AXIS also received seven Isadora Duncan Dance Awards and appeared twice on the hit TV show So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD), which exposed the genre of integrated dance to millions of people.
Alongside the AXIS artistic performance program, the company is committed to providing supreme integrated dance education and outreach programs. Today, AXIS offers opportunities and events for all ages and abilities and is known as the primary pre-professional training space for aspiring dancers with disabilities.
Photo Credit: David DeSilva, axisdance.org
AXIS Youth Programs include:
Dance Access Day- Free event for schools and children of all ages that exposes the audience to in-theater performances in downtown Oakland. Gives youth the experience of seeing innovative choreography that demonstrates how people with and without disabilities work together. Includes active participation and Q & A.
Youth Performances- In-theater performances that showcase artistic repertory, provides educational info on disability, personal dance history, and includes audience in a physically-integrated dance experience.
In-school Residences: Series of classes over several weeks where students learn creative dance- exploring their own vocabulary, building confidence, and practicing cooperation and appreciation for creative expression.
Assemblies: Presents over 20 in-school assemblies throughout the Bay Area each year including interactive participation by students, and discussion and Q & A with AXIS dancers.
AXIS Adult Professional Development Programs include:
Choreo-Lab: Launched this past June to support mentorship and advancement of disabled choreographers.
Summer Intensive: Dance experience for dancers with and without disabilities to develop their technique while collaborating with dancers from around the world.
Teacher Trainings: Teachers are given the tools to create an inclusive and creative environment in their classroom. Includes video presentation and movement exercises.
Classes: Taught by company dancers, community teaching artists, and alumni from the company
AXIS Dance Company is truly changing the face of dance and disability! For more information about all of the things that AXIS Dance Company offers, follow the company on Instagram @axisdanceco . If you are interested in attending 'In-ter-twine: Alice in Californiland' this weekend at Z Space (450 Florida St.) in San Francisco, you can purchase tickets on axisdance.org .