AXIS reminds me to be true to my inner self

At AXIS we are so grateful to have such wonderful people serving on our Board of Directors. And of course we love for you to get to know them too.  Meet Board Member Andrew Thorrens: Tell us a bit about yourself.

I head the market access and reimbursement strategy for Durata Therapeutics, a pharmaceutical company based in downtown Chicago. I'm lucky in that I get to work with a passiocasual standing2nate group of people focused on both the development and commercialization of therapeutic solutions to advance patient care in infectious disease. I’m also very lucky to have been invited to join the Board at AXIS after being a longtime admirer of their work.

I live in Chicago with my family: my partner, Don Mizerk who is a lawyer, and our daughters Isabella, 8, and Valerie, 6. Both Don and I grew up here so Chicago is home. Given our love of California and the Bay Area, we travel there several times a year making it our home away from home. But because home base is Chicago, people are naturally intrigued when they learn that I’m on the Board of a contemporary dance company based in Oakland, CA. Yet as soon as I tell them about AXIS, everyone thinks it’s like the coolest thing. And that makes me feel really proud of my involvement with AXIS.

How did you first hear about AXIS?

Well, I first heard of AXIS around seven years ago but didn’t actually see them in action until four years later. And then, wow! Seeing AXIS perform Alex Ketley's "To Color Me Different", I remember thinking that I hadn’t so much as witnessed a dance performance but rather had taken part in a multisensory experience. I mean, I was just so moved and overwhelmed with goosebumps seeing AXIS perform for the first time that in that moment I decided to somehow/someday get involved with them.

And even today, any time I need to get that sensory rush I watch the 3-minute video clip of Sebastian Grubb and Joel Brown performing an excerpt of Sebastian’s The Narrowing in “So You Think You Can Dance.”  Those guys’ physical intensity and drive in that piece fueled by the music of Joan Jeanrenaud and PC Muñoz is awesome.


What do you love about AXIS?

That’s a great question and you might be surprised to know that my answer has nothing to do with contemporary dance.  Frankly, and maybe like most of us, I tend to filter everything that I see through the lens of my perceptions. And, what I love about AXIS is that not only does it inspire me and affirm my view of a world full of infinite human potential but it also gives me a whole new lens and ways in which to view the world around me. In doing so, AXIS reminds me to be true to my inner self and yet question my own perspectives as part of honoring the perspectives of others.

What are you most excited about being on the AXIS board?

You mean besides the fact that I get to be associated with an acclaimed, world-class, innovative contemporary dance company that’s at the epicenter of a creative social movement? Are you kidding me?! I have to pinch myself every time I think that I get to be on the Board of AXIS. But, you know, my view is that being on the Board doesn’t grant me license to tell everyone about AXIS. It’s just something that I do and that comes naturally for me.


What is your fondest AXIS memory?

So after an idyllic lunch with the other AXIS Board members, Judy kindly invites us (Don, me and the girls) to an AXIS rehearsal. Now picture us sitting on the floor of the AXIS dance studio as we watched Sonsheree, Emily, Sebastian and Joel rehearse under Marc Brew’s direction while Judy generously gives us her commentary on the piece they were working on. I remember feeling so privileged to be part of such an intimate, behind-the-scenes moment. Now mind you this was just a couple of months ago but already it’s such a fond AXIS memory of mine that I’m sure it’ll become even more meaningful in time.


Why should anyone join AXIS' board?

Well, I hope that everything I’ve shared here about my positive feelings for AXIS would compel someone to want to join the Board. And I’m stating the obvious, but I would also add that being on the Board requires the commitment and passion to assist AXIS chart its course through outreach and development to fund new dances, programs, Dance Access/KIDS!, anything and everything that it takes to sustain this dynamic and vital dance company.


Anything else you would like to tell us?

Happy 25th Anniversary, AXIS!