This is a little snippet of one of the dances I saw this past weekend by Axis Dance Company based out of Oakland. I first heard about this troupe from a professor at Stanford who taught about the integration between medicine/health and the arts. Needless to say, when I found out that physical disabilities were involved especially people with Spinal Cord Injuries, I was a fan. It’s taken me 2 years from hearing about Axis to finally get out to a local performance and let me tell you….they did not disappoint!
As someone who is fairly active and likes to push the physical limits of what one can do with one’s body, especially bodies sitting on top of wheelchairs…my mind was blown about what was humanly possible. And it all looked stunningly beautiful. Part of that had to do with my friend, Joel Brown, who I’ll give a shout out to, who basically looks like Joe from Family Guy (gigantic upper body muscles) minus the big chin. Joel is from my home state of Utah and naturally all disabled people from the same state know each other.
But back to the performance…the last piece titled “Divide” had 3 able-bodied dancers and Joel, which meshed for a crazy melange of movement from one dancer standing on top of the wheelchair at one point to Joel actually getting out of his chair and doing acrobatics on the ground in unison with the other dancers.
My favorite “dance trick” that Joel did that I still can’t get over, was when he would lean forward on the ground lifting up his back wheels and while only balancing on his front casters, moved sideways on them….
I am now going to practice this move. Probably with a lot of falling involved.
I highly recommend going to one of their performances if you happen to be in the Oakland area. Their only downfall is that they don’t have more home performances beyond the one weekend in April. So you have to plan a year ahead or else the opportunity will pass you by!
Here’s their website if you’re interested in learning more!