Insights into the AXIS office by Ali Meyers-Ohki, Summer Intern
When most people think of the work involved in a dance company, I would guess that images of rehearsals, exercise, working with choreographers, creative problem solving, traveling for tour, and performances likely swim to the surface of the imagination. These are important parts of the creative and physical labor involved in dance making and I have enjoyed glimpses of these elements of AXIS.
However, I would like to take the time to give some props to the people doing the less visible work that allows AXIS function as an established repertory dance company. There are a lot of less glamorous tasks that need to happen for the show to go on. Booking presenters, reaching out to local organizations, writing grants proposals, grant reporting, maintaining databases, fundraising, booking flights, maintaining a web presence, filing press clippings, reaching out to new venues, organizing educational events, payroll, budgeting, and much more. As an Intern, I have been assisting the tireless efforts of the awesome hard working women of the AXIS office: Christy, Annika, Mollie(who left AXIS at the end of June), Laurie, and Judy. We are a small office and a cozy one. While each person has their areas of expertise and responsibility, we share in most tasks. The atmosphere is collaborative. We enjoy frequent visits and meetings with the dancers who often come in looking for this or that piece of clothing, paperwork, or information, but mostly we are in the company of one another. Christy may take a break from reviewing payroll to help me seal envelopes for our silent auction donor mailers which Laurie diligently researched and designed. Annika might take a break from grant reporting to give Christy a second opinion on a brochure layout. Judy might ask Annika to read through a grant proposal that involves education related funding. And all the while we manage to giggle, discuss weird dreams, share chocolate, review GRE vocabulary, etc. These are the 9-5 snapshots of AXIS, images that may not come to mind immediately when thinking of a dance company’s backstage goings on.
I hold great respect and affection for the AXIS office and the women who work here and the organizational culture they have created. At the end of a performance, it is traditional for the audience to applaud the dancers or actors who will then gesture toward the tech crew so that the audience can also clap for their efforts and artistry. Now, when I go to performances, I will also save some applause for those folks working off stage whose efforts and dedication are just as responsible for what happens on stage.