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AXIS Dance Company

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Physically Integrated Dance
Axis dancersSince 1987, AXIS Dance Company has created an exciting body of work developed by dancers with and without disabilities. They are in the forefront of paving the way for a powerful and inclusive dance form, physically integrated dance. AXIS has performed in theaters and dance spaces at its home base in the Bay Area, on tour throughout the U.S., as well as in Germany and Siberia. Described as a "visual and physical discovery, creating fascinating works of movement art," the Company has become internationally known for its high artistic and educational standards and innovative movement vocabulary. Now a ten-member ensemble under the Artistic Direction of Judith Smith, their stellar repertory includes works by AXIS choreographers, Stephen Petronio, Bill T. Jones, Joe Goode, Joanna Haigood, and Sonya Delwaide.

Among their many achievements, AXIS has been awarded Isadora Duncan Dance Awards in 2000 and 2001, and was honored with a 'Goldie' for Dance from the San Francisco Bay Guardian's Outstanding Local Discovery Awards. Oakland City Council has proclaimed March 10, 2002 as AXIS Dance Company Day in honor of their performance in the Olympic Arts Festival and their artistic achievements of the past 14 years.

Axis dancer NadiaAXIS Dance Company has created over thirty repertory works, two evening length works and two works for young audiences. The company has been commissioned to create works for the San Francisco Exploratorium and the CAL Performances and UAM/PFA's 'Off the Wall' series. They were featured in WNET's nationally broadcast production of "People In Motion" and a documentary video, "Dancing From the Inside Out," which won over a dozen awards. AXIS dancers have also served as consultants and models for the creation of Life Forms choreography software used to introduce disabled students to dance and choreography.

Among the company's many notable projects, in collaboration with Dance Umbrella, AXIS planned and curated the International Festival of Wheelchair Dance in June 1997. This was the first event ever of this magnitude and prestige in the history of this relatively new dance form. AXIS Dance Company currently maintains an extensive community education and outreach program. Dance Access and its youth component Dance Access/KIDS! offers an ongoing program of classes for adults and youth of all abilities. Find out more about Axis at

JUDITH SMITH, Artistic Director, is a founding member of AXIS. Through her work with AXIS, she has earned an international reputation for her work in the field of physically integrated dance. Prior to becoming disabled in a car accident at age 17, Judith was a champion equestrian on the Colorado Hunter/Jumper circuit. She transferred her passion for riding to dance after discovering contact improvisation in 1983.

She has studied movement in a wheelchair extensively through modern dance, improvisation and martial arts. Judith teaches dance to youth and adults through the company's "Dance Access" education/outreach program which she helped launch. She also teaches and lectures at community organizations, schools, universities, conferences and festivals. In addition, she serves on numerous arts review panels, is on the advisory board of The National Art and Disability Center based at UCLA and also works as a consultant in the field of disability, accessibility and the arts. Judith received the Artship Foundation's 'Local Hero' award in 1999 for her work in the art and disability communities.

ALISA RASERA, Program Director, entered her first dance class in 1975. In 1994 she received a BFA in dance from California Institute of the Arts and in 1996, an MFA in dance performance and choreography from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. Bay Area performance credits include work with Randee Paufve, Dana Lawton, Jessica Adams, Cid Pearlman, Nina Haft, & others. For the past 12 years, Alisa has danced with kids in summer camps, studios and classrooms and has been a dance teacher for the Lafayette Dance Center, Town School, St. Mary's College, Dance Access/KIDS!, and Berkeley Ballet Theater. Alisa's choreography has been seen at Hope Summer Repertory Theatre, Children's' Musical Theater of San Jose, St. Mary's College, College Preparatory High School, Willard Middle School, Pilot 26 &27 at ODC, Works in the Works, Women's Work Series at Venue 9 and in AXIS Dance Company's 2001 Home Season at the Cowell Theater in San Francisco. Alisa directs AXIS' Dance Access Education and Outreach program and was a 2001/2002 recipient of the California Arts Council's Artist in Residence grant.

First appeared in People Like Me 2003


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