Over our Home Season weekend, we collected feedback from many of the nearly 900 community members who showed up to experience the debut performances of Realign the Curve. You all had some really great things to say – so great in fact, it only seemed right to share them. So as promised, here is the first post in a series in which we’ll be responding to a few of the questions and comments generated by this year’s Home Season performances. Today’s post will be dedicated to a few of the questions directed specifically towards the AXIS dancers. Q1. To the dancers - How did you discover dance?
Sonsherée: I started dancing when I was really tiny, just three years old. My mom was a dancer, and she signed me up for a ballet class. Soon after that I started taking tap and gymnastics too…and I just never stopped. I found out about AXIS in 2003 while attending the Bates Dance Festival in Maine. Judy and Alisa Rasera, the education director at the time, were giving a lecture demonstration that year, and Judy was an electric speaker. They showed a couple videos, and I was sold. I joined axis in 2006, and haven’t looked back since!
Joel: My mom taught me how to dance as a child, and after I was paralyzed at age eight, my older brother really encouraged me to dance. I’ve always found joy in all kinds of movement though – play and athletic endeavors. I learned about AXIS when I was in 8th or 9th grade. My older brother was studying physically integrated dance, then called “mixed ability dance”, and he showed me videos of AXIS and other integrated dance companies like Candoco online. I started with AXIS as an apprentice in 2012.
Sebastian: My parents have encouraged me to dance my whole life (though I don’t think they ever knew I’d end up becoming a professional dancer). I started doing musical theater at age 4 and I guess that was really the beginning. It wasn’t until age 20 though, when I went to a festival of all male dancers in Seattle, that I realized it was actually a legitimate decision to be a professional dancer…and then I rushed off to a ballet academy! I joined AXIS in 2008.
Q2. In getting ready for Realign the Curve, how often did you all rehearse? Do all the company members take dance technique classes? What kinds of physical conditioning do you do?
Sonsherée: We rehearsed from 1 to 6pm, five days a week, for about four months running up to Home Season, with a couple tours and educational performances thrown in there. All of us have our own special ways of taking care of our bodies that we do in addition to rehearsal, so for example, I like to take dance technique classes, and I also love to run. I'm always stretching my hips, and I do a lot of bikram yoga.
Joel: I don't take a ton of dance technique classes, but I do like to play around with acroyoga, different calesthenics and body weight workouts, aerial arts, rock climbing, and "running"/pushing.
Sebastian: I used to take a lot of technique classes, but now I don't have time. I do a lot of strength and cardiovascular training...I like to be able to say "yes" when a choreographer asks, "Can you do such and such thing?"
Q3. How do you prepare before a performance?
Sonsherée: I like to get really warm, like take a class or go running beforehand, and then warm up with the rest of the company. I make sure I have all my costumes and hairpins and everything, and then I'm good to go.
Joel: I stretch a lot and do some pushups and maybe run through some of the choreography in my head and onstage. I actually also love to sing before a show - pop songs.
Sebastian: I rest my body as much as I can. Eat a lot of fruit. I try to move through the entire stage and feel the space out, make it home for the next hour or two.
...stay tuned over the next few weeks as we continue to answer your questions and share your comments!