CERRITOS, CA – The Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts (CCPA) welcomes the AXIS Dance Company on Friday, April 18, 8:00 PM. Founded in 1987, the troupe has earned widespread respect and critical acclaim for pioneering a revolutionary dance collaboration that transcends physical disabilities. In Cerritos the company will perform Kate Weare’s Foregone; Victoria Marks’ Dancing to Music; Joe Goode’s the beauty that was mine, through the middle, without stopping; and Margaret Jenkins’ and Melanie Elms’ Waypoint. Tickets, ranging from $37 to $22.50, are now on sale at the CCPA Ticket Office by calling (562) 467-8818, or at
The AXIS DANCE COMPANY began as a movement class for wheelchair-bound women, both dancers and non-dancers. The members developed a unique dance piece that piqued interest and attracted attention, leading to multiple requests for the group to perform. Eventually, a full-fledged dance company was born.
The core of AXIS, which continues to push the boundaries of what defines dance, is the distinctive and inclusive movement mode called “physically integrated dance” (also known as “mixed-ability dance”), a relatively young art form that is quickly gaining recognition and acceptance. Through improvisation and various creative techniques, dancers explore their range of movement and their bodies’ relationships to other bodies around them. Tony award-winning choreographer Bill T. Jones said, “There is no more defiant a land that I can think of than AXIS. They showed me what dance could be.”
Today, under the artistic direction of Judith Smith, a champion equestrian before she injured her spinal cord in a car accident, the dance company’s noteworthy repertory includes more than 30 works from preeminent choreographers and composers, including Jones, Stephen Petronio, Marks, Jenkins, Ann Carlson, Goode, and Meredith Monk.
The Bay Area-based AXIS troupe has garnered various distinctions, including several Isadora Duncan Dance awards for choreography, costume design, achievement in company performance, and outstanding achievement in an individual performance by dancer Uli Schmitz, the first disabled dancer to win such an honor. The company was featured in the nationally televised People in Motion, which sought to shatter societal stereotypes about disability. AXIS also had a role in the rousing, award-winning Dancing From the Inside Out, a poignant video documenting the lives, struggles, and achievements of disabled dancers.
Since its inception 20 years ago, AXIS has toured the United States and abroad, performing at events such as the Dance Umbrella’s International Festival of Aerial Dance in Boston and the Olympic Arts Festival in Salt Lake City. It has performed in venues such as San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, New Hampshire’s Hopkins Center at Dartmouth College, Vermont’s Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, Germany’s University of Cologne, and the Railroad Theater in Siberia. Teaming with Britain’s dance promoter Dance Umbrella, AXIS planned and hosted the 1997 International Festival of Wheelchair Dance, which brought together 14 companies representing various dance genres, including traditional, contact improvisation, Modern, Ballet, and Folkloric. The unprecedented event, the first of its kind in prominence and magnitude, featured performers from the United States, London, Vienna, Guatemala, Germany, and China, and promoted appreciation for “mixed-ability” dance and its growing influence.
In honor of AXIS’ accomplishments and its unbending commitment to challenge public perceptions of disabilities and of what dance is, and what it “ought to be,” California’s Oakland City Council declared March 10, 2002, as AXIS Dance Company Day.
This performance is funded in part by the National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the Arts, with lead funding from Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Additional funding provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Ford Foundation, and JP Morgan Chase.
Tickets are now on sale to see the AXIS Dance Company in motion at the CCPA. For tickets or more information, call (562) 467-8818 or go to
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