10 DAYS OF LEARNING, EMPOWERMENT, AND DANCE
The AXIS Summer Intensive is an unparalleled dance experience for dancers with and without disabilities to develop their technique while collaborating with dancers. This year’s summer intensive proved to be nothing less than motivating, insightful, and empowering as people from all over the world, both disabled and non-disabled, discovered new ways of expanding their artistry. From dancing in unconventional spaces to tackling language around disability, the summer intensive was an in-depth look at creativity and how we as a world community can change—so that people of all abilities may reach their full creative potential. The experience, no doubt, has proven that a dancer does not have to be slim, with long legs, and with the ability to walk, hear, or see; but rather the willingness to learn and being in an environment that offers support and access to people of all kinds.
This year, we received wonderful feedback from summer intensive participants Maria Jose Rodriguez De La Luna (Majo) and Kimberly Ocampo (Kim). While Maria expanded her view on contemporary dance after the 10 day workshop, Kimberly talked of her own disability and how the intensive has shifted her views on her ability to dance.
Maria Jose Rodriguez: "Learning to fly, I found myself. I have spent the last few weeks full of love and dance, with a wonderful dance company called AXIS and some beautiful beings that inspire my life and fill me with desire and joy to follow this amazing dance journey. There were three modules which showed me the infinite possibilities which any type of body offers; three modules which beat me up, questioned me, helped me to understand more the path of inclusion. I believe that we are powerful and that the heart also dances; that we are breaking barriers, prototypes; that anything is possible. I know that the message that we want to give inspires and strengthens us against those who have said we can’t. I am infinitely proud of what I can do, what I am, and what I stand for. Thank you to EVERYONE who made this possible. Thanks to AXIS and its members for sharing their souls, bodies and knowledge that enables its summer camp intensive students to be colossal, true, strong and present. I know that for everyone who shared this experience, this is the beginning of something immense, truly powerful; something which enhances their existence and shines a light on the beautiful differences with which we were built. They are awesome and I am fortunate to be able to know them, to have been able to dance with them, and to have learned by their sides. Don’t forget, should you fall, to pick yourself back up with style, like only Majo knows how. Gracias”
Kimberly Ocampo: “I wanted to share my experience being with AXIS and to be very honest it was probably one of the best experiences, since my accident, involving dance. I recently, July 19th, 2015, had a car accident. I was riding my bicycle to work and a car hit me and I became paralyzed. Before my accident I was always salsa dancing, teaching, competing, performing, and it was something that was a really big part of my life. Now that I get to do it in my wheelchair and be surrounded by people who are very positive, who are willing to help, and teach you what you can do with your body being paralyzed from the waist down gave me great appreciation because it’s probably not the easiest thing to do. Being able to have patience and communication was one of the biggest keys for me. People were very open to new ideas and input on the dances/choreography. Everyone was so helpful and I really appreciated it.
I went in there not knowing what to expect, but it definitely went beyond my expectations. They taught me how to create movements with my neck, face, head, shoulders, elbows, hands, and arms. It even got to the point where I wanted to dance with my whole body, so I still dance with my legs and feet. It might be different, but I’m still doing it. This made me realize dancing is a way of self expression and contemporary dance is just another way for me to be myself. Being surrounded by these amazing teachers and directors made this whole experience more fun for me.”