AXIS Dance Company is an award-winning contemporary dance company of dancers with and without disabilities based at the Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts in downtown Oakland. Our mission is to create and perform contemporary dance that is developed through the collaboration of dancers with and without disabilities; to teach dance and educate about collaboration and disability through community education and outreach programs; and to promote and support physically integrated dance locally, nationally and internationally.
We would like to submit our dance piece Light Shelter (2009) to be considered for inclusion in the INTERSECTION: WORLD CULTURE in the East Bay Online Exhibition. We believe disability is an important and often under represented world culture. As the leading contemporary dance company in the nation that integrates people with disabilities, AXIS believes we’re also an integral and important piece of Oakland’s cultural landscape.
Light Shelter, choreographed for AXIS in the Fall of 2009 by David Dorfman with an original music composition by Michael Wall and Albert Mathais premiered at the Malonga Casqeulourd Center in Oakland on November 6, 2009. Light Shelter was received well by critics and audience alike and resulted in AXIS’ first sold-out performance. Allan Ulrich reviewed the performances and had this to say:
“AXIS Dance Company continues to occupy its unique niche in the Bay Area arts scene and exceptional choreographers keep adding to the troupe's stature. Who, 20 years ago, believed that a dance troupe that integrated conventional dancers and dancers with disabilities could flourish on the basis of artistic merit alone? ...fierce commitment and kamikaze attacks were everywhere in evidence for Friday night’s performance.”
What made Light Shelter so exceptional was the inclusion of 11 members of the local community with and without disabilities, dancers and non-dancers who performed alongside our 7-member professional troupe. This rare community component is the primary reason we feel Light Shelter is the perfect submission for the Intersection:World Culture in the East Bay exhibit. In line with the priorities of the exhibit, Light Shelter showcases the outstanding and truly diverse talent of this burgeoning community. And AXIS Dance Company and Light Shelter stimulate critical thinking by viewers about dance and disability.
AXIS exists at the intersection of contemporary dance and disability culture and thus has evolved in tandem with both communities in mind. While our first commitment is to artistic excellence, we acknowledge the social and cultural value that is imbued in our work. Despite considerable progress in acceptance of people with disabilities in our society, it is still uncommon to see people with and without disabilities collaborating and performing as equals. 20% of the East Bay population are persons with disabilities. Inclusion of AXIS Dance Company’s Light Shelter in the Intersection exhibit would shed a light on the often under represented world culture of disability that exists in the East Bay.