Things Learned While Making History

DivideCleaned_webThis Friday, April 11th, AXIS will make history. Not only will the 2014 Home Season premiere of Realign the Curve feature the world premiere of acclaimed choreographer Marc Brew’s new work, Divide, and AXIS’ first-ever dance film, The Gift (of Impermanence) by director and choreographer Alex Ketley, it also represents the first time in history that Yvonne Rainer’s iconic post-modern work, Trio A, will be performed by a physically-integrated cast. AXIS’ translation of this seminal work, Trio A Pressured #X, is definitely one to go down in the history books, and has already got some people talking. Where have I been in all of this? I’ve had the happy privilege of working with AXIS as their Spring Production Intern for the past eight weeks, helping the company to gear up to this Home Season studded with firsts. Though my day-to-day tasks haven’t felt particularly epic – doing everything from sending emails to making phone calls, creating educational materials, soliciting donations, editing video footage, and sometimes all of the above – now, on the eve of our opening night, I have a chance to step back and reflect on my time with AXIS. Here are a few thoughts that jump to mind about my time working with a company that is making history:

1. History-making takes a lot of preparation. Go into the AXIS Company Dropbox folder, and you will find a folder titled “Home Season ‘15”. It is already so full it has sub-sections, and sub- sub-sections. Guest Artistic Director and Choreographer Marc Brew said it best during my second week here when he shrugged off my surprise that he’d been working on his new piece Divide since last May: “you finish one Home Season and you start working on the next.” I couldn’t possibly have imagined before arriving at AXIS how much time, effort, and care can go into creating one event.

2. When you’re making history, patience pays off. When we created the production schedule for Alex Ketley’s The Gift (of Impermanence), during Marc’s creation process for Divide, when we sent the thank-you’s to our many collaborators for all their contributions, and solicited the donations that keep AXIS able to create the work it does, we printed things out. In fact, in this up-coming Home Season, our printer demands at least a moment of airtime for its diligent, hard-working, and often unpredictable contribution to the show. Which brings me to patience.


In my eight weeks here, I have learned that in the land of printing, patience can bring you many things, often last of which is the thing you were expecting when you pressed “print” fifteen minutes ago. However, I have also learned that while impatience will be sure to bring you frustration and maybe a touch of hair-pulling or head-banging, stay on hold with HP Customer Service and you might strike lucky with a $124 4-in-1 printer that faxes, scans, copies, and prints exactly the document you intended it to (or something thereabout).

3. It takes a village…to make history First, there’s the obvious ways to invoke this cliché: none of the work showcased in Friday’s show was created in a vacuum – for each piece, the work of costumers, lighting designers, and musical collaborators make the piece what it is, while the support other artistic collaborators informs the work and contributions by donors support its creation.

Divide2_webPerhaps less obvious is the place our extended community has in all of this history-making business. The truth is, our community really, really matters. The first time this really hit me was during the informal showing of Trio A at the Joe Goode Annex two weeks ago. Watching the movements that had, in the past weeks of rehearsal, become like a familiar collage, I was suddenly hit with the extraordinariness of the moment. Yes, I had seen the piece rehearsed and written pages about the momentousness of the translating process, but it was only watching the piece in the company of the AXIS community that I truly became aware of what I was witnessing. At AXIS, dance is something to create, rehearse, explore and express, but first and foremost, dance is something to share.

In that vein – come share this moment in history with us! Realign the Curve shows on Friday 4/11 and Saturday 4/12 at 8pm and Sunday 4/13 at 2pm, all at the Malonga Casquelourd Theater (1428 Alice Street at 14th, Downtown Oakland). Buy Tickets HERE.