AXIS Dance Company, a physically integrated contemporary dance, was founded in 1987 and is currently based out of Oakland, California. The company performs across the United States and abroad with powerful skill and artistry, partially famous for incorporating dancers with and without physical disabilities.
Last week, the company made their way to Lawrence for workshops with several lucky groups or classes through the University of Kansas and nearby elementary schools, finally performing on Friday, November 11 at the Lied Center.
AXIS dancers took the stage to perform several routines, spanning the course of roughly two hours. The program included Dix minutes plus tard (Ten Minutes Later), choreographed by Sonya Delwaide and set to the score of an excerpt from Franz Schubert Andante for String Quartet No. 15, and Divide, choreographed by Marc Brew and set to an original score by Caroline Penwarden.
The dancer’s extensive training shines through the performance. AXIS is notable not only for sheer skill and beautiful artistry but also for integrating those with disability into the performance. Rather than relying mostly on dancers without disabilities, dancers in wheelchairs or with amputations were utilized equally in the overall performances. For instance, Dwayne Scheuneman, an AXIS dancer with a wheelchair, leaves the chair at one point during the performance, expressing his movements with his upper half in equal collaboration with other dancers.
The company also provides programs for children and adults in an effort to inspire dance for all people. Their internationally attended classes, assemblies, summer training programs, and outreach programs provide thousands of individuals with the skills and confidence required to express themselves through contemporary dance.
Friday night’s performance at the Lied Center exemplifies the very ideas AXIS Dance Company seeks to prove to their audience, changing the face of dance and disability through art, movement, and teamwork. Attendees of the event are sure to remember the powerful message AXIS dancers displayed on stage that night. Look out for AXIS Dance Company in the future – their performance proves that they are not an act to be missed.