“Leave your preconceptions at the door” is the provocative slogan of California’s AXIS Dance Company, an integrated company of dancers with and without disabilities who will visit Hobart and William Smith Colleges this April. Featuring cutting-edge contemporary choreography from artists such as David Dorfman, Joe Goode, Alex Ketley and Sonia Delwaide, the company will be in residence for three days, culminating in a performance on Wednesday, April 14 in Winn Seeley Gym Theater. Described as “…technically flawless and artistically stunning,” AXIS Dance Company works “to challenge traditional definitions of ‘dance,’ ‘dancer’ and ability’ to expand dance to include an entire community that has been virtually left out of the performing arts.” While in Geneva the company will present master classes in dance and improvisation, perform a lecture demonstration for Geneva’s West Street Elementary School, and meet with members of local dance communities.
Organized by Dance Department Professor Cynthia Williams, the AXIS Dance Company residency is supported by numerous grants: the company’s performance of Alex Ketley’s Vessel is funded by New England Foundation for the Arts, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and additional funding from the Ford Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Community Connections Fund of the MetLife Foundation; this tour of AXIS Dance Company is made possible by a grant from Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts Regional Touring Program, and this project is supported by New York State DanceForce with funding from the New York State Council on the Arts Dance Program. Williams notes that bringing AXIS Dance Company to Hobart and William Smith Colleges is the culmination of three years of planning and represents “an amazing opportunity for students, faculty, and the Geneva community to experience art that shatters traditional assumptions about dance.”
Founded in 1987 with a mission to create and perform contemporary dance that is developed through the collaboration of dancers with and without disabilities, AXIS Dance Company under the Artistic Direction of Judith Smith is engaged in community education and outreach programs that promote and support physically integrated dance locally, nationally and internationally. Praised for its repertory of innovative choreography , critics claim “AXIS should be seen for its work, but it should also be seen because, while it may have its roots and raison d’etre in the effort to reform how society views its disabled members, the artistic implications of this work are revolutionary, and overturn all previous notions…” AXIS Dance Company has received seven Isadora Duncan Dance Awards and has performed in more than 60 cities nationwide, as well as in Europe and Siberia.
AXIS Dance Company’s residency takes place in conjunction with the Colleges’ Festival of Disability and the Arts. The April 14 dance concert will take place at 8 p.m. in Winn Seeley Gym Theater; tickets are $5 and will be available at the door. For information about the performance or to register for master classes please contact Williams at (315) 781-3495 or by e-mail: Williams@hws.edu.
The photo above was taken by Brian Rdzak-Martin.