AXIS Dance Company (Oakland, CA)

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  Dancers form a 'pyramid' atop a wheelchair

AXIS Dance Company performs a new repertory work by choreographer Ann Carlson, Flesh. Photo by Margot Hartford

Since 1987, the AXIS Dance Company has been creating and performing high quality contemporary dance by dancers with and without disabilities. Under the artistic direction of Judith Smith, AXIS has commissioned repertory works from preeminent choreographers, such as Bill T. Jones, Joanna Haigood, and Joe Goode. AXIS also maintains a model education/outreach program, Dance Access.

In FY 2004, AXIS received an NEA Creativity grant of $20,000 to commission a new repertory work by choreographer Ann Carlson. The 17-minute piece, entitled Flesh, was set to the music of Meredith Monk and was performed at St. Mark's Church in New York City in November 2004 as part of the Dances With Monk program celebrating Monk's 40th anniversary. The piece was performed at eight venues in fall 2004 and will tour extensively in 2004-2006 as a regular part of the company's repertory. An estimated 3,500 saw the performances in 2004.

 

AXIS Dance Company performs a new repertory work by choreographer Ann Carlson, Flesh. Photo by Tom Brazil

Ann Carlson is an award-winning choreographer, director, and performance artist who combines movement, voice, and visual elements. Flesh is loosely based on the E. M. Forster short story, "The Machine Stops," in which humanity lives in an underground mechanized complex. A youth journeys to the surface and finds people still living above ground. Flesh starts from this point, following the youth's interaction with the surface people as he learns about their survival outside the machine.

(From the 2004 NEA Annual Report)