Shared by former dancer, Megan Schirle during the 25th Anniversary Home Season Every touring company knows how challenging it is to take the show on the road. But the amount of creative problem-solving and contingency planning that AXIS staff and dancers have to engage in is difficult to imagine until you experience it, as I did on my first tour with AXIS in 1992.
We were headed to the Michigan Women’s Music Festival and requested to show up at the airport at least 2-1/2 hours before the flight. Having frequently traveled by air for work using my manual wheelchair, I wondered why so early? Answer: it was to allow time to break down Judy’s power chair, package up its most fragile parts, and deal with the two huge lead acid batteries that powered it. This was done inside the airport’s main check-in area, in midst of the usual throng of passengers and luggage. Well, while one of the dancers was carefully working to disconnect the cables from the battery terminals with a wrench, a man passing by felt compelled to help.
Next thing we see is an enormous shower of sparks shooting upward – 8, 9, 10 feet high. When the smoke cleared and people stopped screaming, we could see the wrench now perfectly melted and welded to the positive and negative terminals on Judy’s sole set of batteries. Sigh. All I could think was, we didn’t even make it through check-in before something exploded!
A very long, adventurous story made short: we figured out a solution, and with only moments to spare made our flight and had a very successful tour. I had discovered what would make touring with AXIS the stuff of legend. And I remember thinking after that first tour: it’s going to take a lot of wrenches, duct tape and bubble wrap to keep this company going!
And for 25 years, it has taken that, and so, so, so much more to continue making AXIS dance magic happen. A huge, heartfelt thank you to everyone who’s been part of this amazing (if in the beginning improbable) odyssey and endeavor!