California Arts Council

State of California

AXIS Dance Company Featured on Television's 
"So You Think You Can Dance"
Episode with California Arts Council grantee now online

Published: 07-01-2011

Oakland-based AXIS Dance Company was featured on the hit dance series So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD) on Thursday, June 30. Known as one of the country's leading dance ensembles to feature a mix of dancers with and without disabilities, the company was represented by Sonsheree Giles and Rodney Bell. Both are well known in the Bay Area for bringing a great deal of intensity to their duets, with Bell using his chair with an uncanny mix of agility, artistic intention and almost reckless abandon, while Giles supplies strength, speed and sinewy grace as his partner. See the performance on YouTube.

So how did AXIS get to be on the show? Says Giles, "A person who loves AXIS and knows [resident Judge] Nigel Lythgoe suggested to him that the SYTYCD audience was more than ready to see physically integrated dance on the show. When he saw a video of us dancing, he got super excited and invited us to be guest artist. I think what I am looking forward to the most is dancing and sharing the performance with so many people that would not otherwise get to see this dance." 

The California Arts Council has just announced that AXIS, having received the highest possible rank from a panel of experts, is receiving a grant through the competitive Creating Public Value program. The award of $10,000 will help support Get InMotion! Based in the fully accessible Ed Roberts Campus, an international center for people with disabilities, this project will bring lecture/demonstrations and year-long dance classes to staff and constituents from seven disability organizations. Get InMotion! will culminate in a site-specific work performed by AXIS and class participants to celebrate the Ed Roberts Campus' first anniversary.

About the company: AXIS Dance Company is highly regarded the world over for its unflagging artistic and educational standards and for paving the way for physically integrated dance within the contemporary dance community. More than any other physically integrated company in the U.S., AXIS Dance Company has been a bridge between contemporary dance and physically integrated dance. Under the artistic direction of Judith Smith, the company of seven dancers with and without disabilities has performed in theaters and dance spaces at its home base in the Bay Area and on tour throughout the U.S., as well as in Germany and Russia. In addition to works created by company members, important and high profile choreographers, including Bill T. Jones, Joe Goode, Stephen Petronio, Joanna Haigood, Sonya Delwaide, Victoria Marks, and Ann Carlson have actively invested in AXIS Dance Company by creating new work for the company. AXIS Dance Company is a many-time Isadora Duncan Dance Award (Izzie) winner and has been featured in numerous arts and documentary videos including WNET's nationally broadcast People in Motion. Some recent professional highlights include extensive touring throughout the U.S., a commission by Bates Dance Festival, and two invitations to perform in New York as a part of Meredith Monk's 40th Anniversary Celebration.

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