A review of the AXIS Dance Company’s performance: Promoting unity through dance

In the Dassance Fine Arts building of CF, as part of the Performing Arts series, the AXIS Dance Company performed a brilliant ensemble Monday, Nov. 3, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.

The theatre was dark, ambient, modern music played in the background and then the stage lit up revealing a young man in a wheelchair, Joel Brown and another young man in a table chair, Sebastian Grubb. The two men suddenly clapped and turned their bodies to the side in unison. Then they began to dance in their chairs with exaggerated movements made in succession to create art- interpretive dance.

The performance continued and the two dancers that were on stage first left, leaving the audience in awe of their spectacular performance. Since the act was interpretive dance, and dancing is an art, the impression left on each audience member varied drastically; but for me, I found that the symmetry made in the movements of both the man in the wheelchair and the man in the table chair demonstrated the fact that no matter how different two people may be, we are all humans, and have the same basic needs and desires- to be loved, to be accepted and to express ourselves.

Axis Dance Company dancers Sebastion Grubb (Left) and Joel Brown (Right) are the first to perform. The dancers deliver a strong emotional presence. The portrayed characters have a high level of tension with one another.

Axis Dance Company dancers Sebastion Grubb (Left) and Joel Brown (Right) are the first to perform. The dancers deliver a strong emotional presence. The portrayed characters have a high level of tension with one another.

“It was fascinating, it was very engaging and I had a hard time taking my eyes off of it,” said attendee Millie Poole.

It was not just Poole who had a difficult time disengaging from the dancers, and I found myself captivated by not only the atmosphere- dark and ambient- but the talented dancers as well. I have never witnessed interpretive dance before, and I will say that it was quite the captivating experience.

The next performer, Marc Brew wheeled his way on the stage, and sat center in front of a movie projection of himself dancing in the background which intermeshed with a moving escalator. In the movie, people were walking and pointing, not necessarily at him, but towards his projection and just moving around him as he sat in the wheelchair. People were walking up to and riding the escalator that was in front of his own projection, seemingly staring at him.

Marc Grubb is a guest artistic director with the Axis Dance company, according to the Axis Dance Company website. His performance felt like a solemn awakening and becoming of the wheelchair.

Marc Grubb is a guest artistic director with the Axis Dance company, according to the Axis Dance Company website. His performance felt like a solemn awakening and becoming of the wheelchair.

Suddenly the movie projection stopped and the man center stage began to dance, pulling his legs up with his hands and making other exaggerated movements- all so intriguing and amazing the way he moved around the stage, allowing himself to let go- or at least that is what I got from the experience. I feel like the movie represented his feeling of isolation, and the interpretive dance after proved his overcoming of stereotypes and feeling alone.

“We should not stereotype individuals and we should allow any thought to be put into movement,” said ballet and pointe instructor and attendee Harriet Booth.

The next few performances, featuring dancers Julie Crothers, Sophie Stanley, Sonsherèe Giles, Brown and Grubb were just as engaging and allowed for the audience to really be pulled in to the social issues humans face every day, and the friendship that can take place if only we let our differences aside. It also allowed for serious contemplation of the way we think of art.

“It brings creativity to the mind and allows us to broaden our thoughts on creative movement,” Poole said.

The dancers portrayed not only an outwards expression of their own beings, but of humanity in general and reminded the audience that creativity can take many forms. As Booth explained, “Creative movement can be made in any form or fashion,” and the performers at the theatre definitely proved that statement to be true.

“The significance of hosting AXIS Dance Company as part of a four day residency was to bring awareness of ways of looking at challenges people face in their lives and what they make of those challenges,” said coordinator of special events of Visual and Performing Arts Laura Wright.

Interpretive integrated dance is just one of the ways that people can express themselves and the AXIS Dance Company shows that it is not only affective as an outlet, but as a way of making people think.

“Music and movement are just part of human[ity],” Booth said. “And sometimes as we get out of our childhood, we stifle…those things, but we need to continue to create.”

By: Ambrozia Barth

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