AXIS Dance Company
AXIS Dance Company is one of the world’s leading and most innovative ensembles of dancers with and without disabilities. Paving the way for physically integrated dance, AXIS transforms perceptions of dance and disability. Based in Oakland, CA, AXIS shares its cutting edge artistic and education/outreach work with thousands annually all over the world.
AXIS exists to change the face of dance and disability. They accomplish this by a) creating and performing contemporary dance that is developed through the collaboration of dancers with and without disabilities, b) teaching dance and educating about collaboration and disability through community education and outreach programs, and c) supporting physically integrated dance locally, nationally, and internationally.
Founded in 1987, AXIS emerged at a time when the Disabilities Rights and Independent Living Movement were gaining stride and the dance community was just beginning to open its doors to people with disabilities. Founding Artistic Director Thais Mazur had the creative vision to gather a group of dancers with and without disabilities to explore dance. What first started as a group of dancers with and without disabilities exploring and creating a performance piece, quickly led to numerous requests for performances and physically integrated dance classes.
Since 1997, Judith Smith, Artistic Director has taken AXIS to new heights. Under her artistic and education/outreach vision, AXIS has collaborated with leading contemporary choreographers and composers, including Bill T. Jones, Stephen Petronio, Joe Goode, Margaret Jenkins, Ann Carlson, Victoria Marks, Meredith Monk, and Joan Jeanrenaud. With more than 75 works in their repertory, AXIS has toured major dance venues and festivals in more than 100 cities nationwide, including the Kennedy Center, 2002 Olympic Arts Festival, World Trade Center, as well as internationally to Europe and Russia. In the late 1990s, AXIS dramatically expanded its education and outreach work, Dance Access, and soon after added a youth component, Dance Access/KIDS! These unparalleled programs provide thousands of people with and without disabilities the opportunity to engage in physically integrated dance.
Over the years, AXIS has earned a total of seven Isadora Duncan Dance Awards, acknowledging exceptional creative achievements in the performance and presentation of dance. AXIS Dance Company has also been featured on the nationally broadcast FOX television show So You Think You Can Dance in 2011 and 2012.
Photo: AXIS Dance Company 2015. Photo by David DeSilva. Dancers Julie Crothers, Nick Brentley, Dwayne Scheuneman, and Sophie Stanley.