AXIS Dance Company, Dancers' Group & Yerba Buena Gardens Festival present:
Occupy - A site specific journey through an urban garden
'Occupy' is a site-specific work where the creative content of the
work originates from the very site it is performed: Yerba Buena Gardens. The history, the design and current use of the Gardens
all contribute to this creation as does the unique make-up of the
cast of dancers with and without disabilities. 'Occupy' looks at how these specific bodies are affected by and affect the spaces they inhabit. The work mines the notion of space and its connection
to our personal, domestic, physical and spiritual bodies. The
six sections of 'Occupy' are knit together by collective bodies
embodying and activating these chosen specific environments.
- Stephan Koplowitz, Director & Choreographer of 'Occupy'
Conception, Direction & Choreography: Stephan Koplowitz
Music: Original Score & Performance by Pamela Z
Costume Design: Callie Floor
Costume Assistant: Victoria Mortimer
Rehearsal Director: Gregory Dorado
AXIS Company Dancers: James Bowen, Julie Crothers, Lani Dickinson, Carina Ho, Liv Shaffer, Dwayne Scheuneman, Kimberly Ocampo (Apprentice, supported by the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation)
Core Company Dancers: Lydia Clinton, Elena Martins, Hannah Pierce, Hannah Westbrook.
Ensemble Dancers: Colette Bakke, Stephanie Bastos, Keanu Brady, Roxanne Black, Haley Brown, Sarah Cook, Scotty Hardwig, Hannah McNany, Robin Nasatir.
Studio Musicians: Beth Custer: clarinets, Kathryn Bates & Alex Kelly: cellos
AXIS Company Staff
Marc Brew, Artistic Director
Judith Smith, Founder and Director
Robin Anderson, Engagement Director and Event Producer
Erika Evearitt, Development Associate
Breanna Lee, Company Administrator and Production Coordinator
Hannah Rogge, Marketing Associate
Maximilian Urruzmendi, Technical Production Manager
Jamie Doublet, Production Assistant
Stephan (Director & Choreographer) is an award-winning director/choreographer/media artist known for his work on stage, film and site. His site work aims to alter people’s perspectives of place, site, and scale, all infused with a sense of the human condition and is concerned with the intersection of natural, social and cultural ecologies within urban and natural environments. Since 1984 he has created 87 works and has been awarded 60 commissions performed in the US, Europe and Asia. He is the recipient of an Alpert Award in the Arts, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Bessie Award for “Sustained Achievement” in Choreography, six NEA Choreography Fellowships from (1988-97) and two distinguished alumni awards from his alma maters Wesleyan University (BA Music Composition) and the University of Utah (MFA Choreography). Recent works have premiered in San Diego, Spoleto (Italy), and Columbus (Ohio). In August, Mill Town, a large scale media/performance installation for the Bates Dance Festival, Lewiston, Maine will premiere. In May, 2018, he will premiere one of his largest site based projects, an immersive performance event throughout the city of Northfield, Minnesota, commissioned by St. Olaf and Carleton Colleges. Koplowitz is a contributor to the first book published on site-specific choreography, Site Dance, (Florida University Press). After living in New York City for 23 years, he was appointed dean and faculty of Dance at the California Institute of the Arts (Los Angeles) and served in that capacity for ten years (2006-2016). To see examples of his site-specific and media works, visit: ww.youtube.com/c/StephanKoplowitz and www.stephankoplowitz.com
Pamela Z (Composer and Performer) is a composer/performer and media artist who works primarily with voice, live electronic processing, sampled sound, and video. A pioneer of live digital looping techniques, she processes her voice to create complex sonic layers. Her solo works, which she has toured internationally and throughout the US, combine experimental vocal techniques, operatic bel canto, found objects, text, and sampled sounds – using custom MIDI controllers that allow her to manipulate sound and image with physical gestures. She has composed, recorded and performed original scores for choreographers and for film/video artists, and has had chamber music commissions from ensembles including Kronos Quartet, the Bang On A Can All Stars, Ethel String Quartet, and Del Sol String Quartet. She has collaborated with a wide range of artists including Joan La Barbara, Joan Jeanraud, Brenda Way (ODC Dance), Vijay Iyer, John Sanborn, Shinichi Iova Koga (Inkboat), Jo Kreiter (Flyaway Productions), and Luciano Chessa. For more information visit: www.pamelaz.com
Callie Floor (Costume Designer) is delighted to work for AXIS Dance Company and Stephan Koplowitz. Since coming to the Bay Area in 1987, she has designed theaters, including ACT, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, Magic Theatre, San Francisco Mime Troupe, California Shakespeare Theatre, West Bay Opera, Zaccho Dance Theatre, Word for Word and Theater of Yugen. Recent projects include Smut for Word for Word, Temple for The Aurora Theatre. Ms.Floor earned her BFA from the University of Utah and her Higher Diploma in Theatre Design from the Slade School of Fine Art, University College, London. She is the Costume Rentals Supervisor for ACT and resident designer for California Revels.
Gregory (AXIS Rehearsal Director) Gregory Dorado is a dancer, choreographer, actor, writer and director of new original performance works and films. He is a graduate of the California Institute of the Arts and founder of SHIFT, a performance collective. He has performed for choreographers Natalie Metzger, Stephanie Nugent, Daniel Sharon, Meryl Murman and Zoe Scofield. His film credits include an adaptation of Natalie Metzger’s Sacrament as well as starring along side performer Jordon Waters in an adaptation of Meryl Murman’s Le Pain. Gregory's performance and film work include several concert dance pieces as well as non-traditional immersive theatrical experiences that blur the line between dance, film, theatre and performance art. His work investigates universal human experience, community engagement, and his own identity as a queer artist of color.
AXIS Dance Company: changing the face of dance and disability through Artistry, Engagement and Advocacy. Based in Oakland since 1987, AXIS is the nation’s most acclaimed ensemble of performers with and without disabilities. Kicking off our 30th year, AXIS is thrilled to announce the appointment of internationally renowned choreographer Marc Brew as its new Artistic Director.
Dancers’ Group promotes the visibility and viability of dance. It is the primary dance service organization of the San Francisco Bay Area, home to one of the largest and most diverse dance communities in the US. For more information visit: www.dancersgroup.org
Yerba Buena Gardens Festival is the independent presenting organization dedicated to enhancing the vitality and quality of life in the parks and open spaces of Yerba Buena Gardens and other public sites of San Francisco through the curated presentation of free artistic, community, and cultural programs. To learn more about YBG Festival visit: www.ybgfestival.org
AXIS Company Dancers
James Bowen is originally from Dallas, TX. Even though his love affair with dance began when he was only three years old, his technical training did not begin until he was a freshman at Kansas State University. He studied under the renowned ballet teacher Joyce Yagerline, among others. During the 2010-2011 season, James was part of the legendary modern company Dallas Black Dance Theater as well as HappyNia Dance Theater Productions. In the year of 2012, James moved to Southern California and joined “Inked”, a contemporary dance company based in Los Angeles. James and his husband moved to the Bay area in 2014. Since then he has been part of numerous dance projects such as the online TV show “Steady Mobbin.” James joined AXIS in 2016.
Julie Crothers was born and raised in Nashville, TN and began dancing at a very young age, training in ballet, contemporary, jazz, tap, and improvisation. In May 2014, she graduated from Elon University earning a BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography and a BA in Arts Administration. Prior to joining AXIS, Julie danced with North Carolina based contemporary dance company Renay Aumiller Dances (RAD), performing at the American Dance Festival in June 2014. Julie’s choreography has been presented at multiple venues in North Carolina, as well as in New York, Tennessee, at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research in Lexington, Kentucky, and at the American College Dance Festival Association, Southeast Region gala performance. Julie joined AXIS in July 2014. In addition to performing and teaching with AXIS, she enjoys singing, working on her own choreography, and inspiring others with her playful energy.
Lani Dickinson was born and adopted from China. She started dancing due to scoliosis developing in her spine as result of being born with a shorter left arm. She trained in ballet among other techniques in local studios (Maryland and Massachusetts). Her rigor increased by attending summers at the Boston Ballet. She went to high school at Idyllwild Arts Academy. She also graduated from the Alonzo King LINES Ballet BFA four-year program, in May 2016. Lani joined AXIS as a company dancer in 2016. She has grown to cherish the everlasting cycle of artistry, engagement, and advocacy that AXIS has to offer. Lani dances for other Bay Area choreographers. For Lani, a cure became a passion.
Carina Ho is originally from New York City but now resides in Oakland, CA. Before sustaining an injury that put her in a wheelchair, she trained in ballet, contemporary, and belly dance. She has performed works by choreographers including Brenda Divelbliss, Kat Roman and Copious Dance Theater, as well as Brian Gibbs. Carina began with AXIS as an apprentice in 2016, and is excited to join AXIS as a Company Dancer in 2017.
Liv Shaffer is a multidisciplinary artist and educator based in the Bay Area. Liv graduated from Alonzo King LINES Ballet BFA Program at Dominican University of California in 2013, and spent the 2013-2015 seasons dancing with DanceWorks Chicago under direction of Julie Nakagawa. Liv embraces employment opportunity nationwide; developing integrative arts curriculum, educating dancers, performing, and creating choreographic commissions with organizations such as Youth Art Exchange, Jacob's Pillow Curriculum in Motion®, The JUNTOS Collective, Western Michigan University, Southern Exposure, and Alonzo King LINES Ballet BFA & Summer Programs. Liv joined AXIS in August of 2016.
Dwayne Scheuneman was an accomplished wheelchair Track and Field athlete when in 2002 he sought out dance as a means of cross training. The physicality and the creativity of dance quickly leaped to the forefront of Dwayne’s interest and he began taking dance classes and performing with Asher Dance Eclectic in Tampa Fl. It was also at this time when he began taking workshops and attending dance festivals with internationally recognized dance companies such as AXIS Dance Company, CANDOCO and others. In August of 2005, Dwayne started REVolutions dance, a physically integrated company in Tampa. Since that time, Dwayne has collaborated with choreographers and dancers to create and perform in numerous dance pieces. Dwayne also established a weekly dance class for children with and without disabilities in Tampa and has worked with children with disabilities throughout the states and abroad. Dwayne has had a close relationship with AXIS for several years and is grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the AXIS family. He joined in 2015.
Kimberly Ocampo (Apprentice) was born January 11, 1993 and was raised in Tinton Falls, New Jersey. Kimberly was always dancing salsa with her father, teaching, competing, and performing. By the age of 22 she was living in Downtown Miami pursuing dance, and was featured in the Pittbull and Neyo music video Time of Our Lives. On July 19, 2015, Kimberly was riding her bicycle to work when a car struck her, resulting in a traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury and a stroke one week after her accident. Not knowing if she could continue her passion for dance after becoming disabled, she learned about AXIS Dance Company through AXIS Company Dancer Dwayne Scheuneman. Kimberly attended AXIS' Summer Intensive in 2016, and became an apprentice in January 2017.
Core Company Dancers
Lydia Clinton is a Bay Area native where she studied dance at Grace Dance Academy under the tutelage of Jen Daugavietis and attended the LINES Ballet Summer Program performing works by Alonzo King and Kara Davis. She then went to Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA to pursue a BA in Dance with a concentration in Modern Dance under the direction of Susan Stowe and Rubén Graciani. At Point Park, she studied under Judith Leifer-Bentz, Rubén Graciani, Garfield Lemonius, and Jason McDole, while dancing in works by Ron Hutson, Shana Simmons, and Kellie Hodges. She also attended the American Dance Festival on scholarship and San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, performing in pieces by Ohad Naharin, Alex Ketley, and Robert Moses. Since moving back to the Bay Area in 2016, Lydia has worked with Stephan Koplowitz and Axis Dance Company, Claudine Naganuma (dNaga Dance), Joe Landini (SAFEhouse Arts), and Sarah Berges Dance.
Elena Martins grew up in Massachusetts and received her early training at Donna Miceli Dance Center and The Academy of Ballet Arts. She went on to graduate magna cum laude from SUNY Buffalo with a BA in dance and a minor in speech and hearing science. Elena was a long time member of Prometheus Dance, as well as performing with Lorraine Chapman The Company, Luminarium Dance, Hyperbole Dance, and as a dancer in W.B. Mason television commercials while living in Boston, MA. She relocated to San Francisco in 2015 and has since had the privilege of working with LEVYdance, Sarah Berges Dance, Robert Moses' Kin, RAWdance, and Axis Dance Company.
Hannah Pierce is a dance artist and educator based in San Francisco, CA. She grew up dancing in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, before moving to Vermont to attend Middlebury College. There she performed the work of Big A.P.E., PearsonWidrig DanceTheater, Christal Brown, Nicholas Leichter, Andrea Olsen, Trebien Pollard, Paloma McGregor, Catherine Cabeen, and others. She received a BA in dance, graduating with honors in 2013. After finishing school she relocated to the Bay and has since had the pleasure of performing with DANCE ELIXIR, David Herrera Performance Company, Deep Root Dance Collective, Catherine Liu, and Garrett Moulton Productions. This is her first project with AXIS.
Hannah Westbrook is a dance artist based in Oakland, CA. She began her modern dance training at Mt. San Jacinto College in Southern California, and followed that dream to UC Berkeley and the Bay Area, where she earned BA degrees in Theater, Dance & Performance Studies. Hannah is a company member of Tim Rubel Human Shakes, and has been privileged to dance in works by Tim Rubel, Katie Faulkner, Lisa Wymore, Sue Roginski, Julie Freeman, Catherine Liu, Becky Robinson-Leviton, Unfinished People, and more. She’s also a member of RADIX troupe, most recently working as Asst. Director on the short film Zoey & the Wind-Up Boy. Hannah is thrilled for this opportunity to be working on Occupy with AXIS Dance Company!
Colette Bakke began dancing in ballet class as a child and has since grown to study various styles while deepening her passion for the art. She received her BA in Dance from Sonoma State University having studied under Kristen Daley, Nancy Lyons, Scott Wells, and Christine Cali. Her dance style is focused in Contemporary Techniques, Improvisation, and Somatic Awareness. During her undergraduate program Colette also had many opportunities to dance in works by guest artists including: Mark Haim, Rogelio Lopez, and The Dance Exchange. Colette is now dancing professionally in and around the San Francisco Bay Area and is a current company member of Slick Babble Dance Project.
Stephanie Bastos, daughter of Bernadette Chaves Nunes and Aluizio Ribeiro Bastos, started her performance career with the Miami Ballet and since then, has received her BFA in Dance and performed with the Isadora Duncan Dance Ensemble, Urban Bush Women, Axis Dance Company, Deep Waters Dance Theater, Aguas Da Bahia, Ron Brown’s/ EVIDENCE and Ase West Dance Collective in which she won an "Izzies” Award for Outstanding Achievement in Performance Ensemble. Performing with or without her prosthetic leg, she is grateful to have presented her first original solo, Timeline, as the first artist in residence for Counterpulse Theater in SF and to join the Axis family in their newest moving adventure!
Roxanne Black was born and raised in New Zealand, she started dancing at age 11. Roxanne began her fulltime training in Christchurch NZ with Canterbury Ballet Performing and touring with there youth company. She finnished her training with Dance Masters International. Roxanne moved to San Francisco in October 2015. She has performed with Toby Behan, Labayen Dance 2016 Fall Seaon and Alyssa Mitchels RAW residency at Safe House.
Keanu Brady was born in Salt Lake City, Utah; had a nomadic upbringing with his single mother, and two younger siblings. Finding dance at 15 he nurtured his relationship to dance through hip-hop, Breakdancing, and his improvisational body. Studied at the University of Utah that provided dance opportunities nationally, and internationally. Most recently he's worked with LEVY Dance, Sara Shelton Mann, Scotty Hardwig, Akoya Dance, and now Axis Dance company. A giant Thank You to Axis Dance Company, Stephen Koplowitz for this opportunity. And special Thanks to his partner Nicolas De Golia and family for their endless love and support.
Haley Brown is a visual and performing artist from Santa Cruz, California. Her primary work is in illustration and she comes to dance from a background in clown and improvisation.
Sarah Cook was born and raised in Seattle Washington, where she found and fell in love with dance. After graduating from the International School of Classical Ballet, Sarah obtained her BFA from California Institute of the Arts in Dance and Choreography. Sarah has had the privilege of performing professionally with Benita Bikes Dance Art, Jordan Saenz and Friends, and SZALT in Los Angeles. Through dance Sarah has been lucky to perform and train in Belgium, Berlin, Spain, and Russia. She is grateful to now have the chance to perform with AXIS Dance.
Scotty Hardwig is a dancer, choreographer and digital media artist originally from southwest Virginia. He received his MFA in Dance from the University of Utah, and is currently based in Vermont, where he serves as an Assistant Professor of Dance at Middlebury College. He is tremendously excited and honored to be working with AXIS and Stephan on this project in the heart of San Francisco. More information about his performance, choreographic and screendance works can be found at: www.HardwigDance.com
Hannah McNany, Dancer, hails from Valencia, CA, and studied under the directorship of Gary Masters at San José State University. Earning her B.F.A. in Dance, she has danced with Quicksilver Dance, Insomniac, Peter & Co. (SF), REACH BC Dance Company, SjDANCEco, and previously worked with Robert Dekkers, Rogelio Lopez, and Project Agora (Kara Davis). Prior training includes Santa Clarita Ballet, Los Angeles Ballet, BalletMet and R.A.D. Now living in Pacifica, Hannah teaches at Menlo Park Academy of Dance in addition to freelancing while also finding time to study for her two-year RAD teacher training program. Hannah is excited to be dancing with Axis for "Occupy"!
Robin Nasatir got her start in the teen program at Shawl Anderson Dance Center in Berkeley, and has been performing and teaching since 1980. In her earlier career, she was a founding member of Mobius Dance Company and worked with various choreographers in the Bay Area and New York City. She is currently a member of Dana Lawton Dances and Ruth Botchan Dance Company. She also performs with other bay area choreographers including Nina Haft and Kate Mitchell. She is thrilled to be a part of this ensemble.
Judith Smith, Founder and Director of AXIS Dance Company, has earned an international reputation in the field of physically integrated dance. She has commissioned works by some of the nation’s best choreographers and composers and has helped develop one of the field’s most extensive integrated dance education/outreach programs. Judith has performed, taught and lectured nationally. She was honored with an Isadora Duncan Dance Award for Sustained Achievement in 2014, the O2 Initiatives Sabbatical Award in 2015 and in 2016 she was honored as one of Theatre Bay Area’s 40 people that have changed the face of Bay Area theatre.
Marc Brew, Artistic Director Acclaimed International choreographer and AXIS Artistic Director Marc Brew trained as a professional dancer at the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School and The Australian Ballet School. He has been working in the UK and Internationally for the past 20 years as a director, choreographer, dancer, teacher and speaker; with the Australian Ballet Company, State Theatre Ballet Company of South Africa, Infinity Dance Theatre, CandoCo Dance Company and AXIS Dance Company. Marc was Associate Director with Scottish Dance Theatre, Associate Artistic Director with Ballet Cymru in Wales, Associate Artist at Tramway Theatre in Glasgow and since 2008 Marc has been dedicating time to his own choreography with Marc Brew Company. Marc was featured by Time Out Magazine as the best of the new breed of London’s Rising Dance Talent and was presented with a Centenary Medal for Outstanding Contribution as a dancer and choreographer. His work Remember When was nominated for an Isadora Duncan Dance Award for Best Performance (individual) and his recent solo work For Now, I am… was listed in the Guardians Top 10 Dance Shows for 2016.
Robin Anderson, Engagement Director and Event Producer Robin Anderson, Engagement Director, has 18 years of experience in dance arts administration. She joined the AXIS team in 2015 and previously served as Director of Alonzo King LINES Dance Center from 2007-2014. Early in her career, she worked for a range of dance organizations in Portland, Oregon. From 2013-2016, Robin pursued her MFA in dance at the Ohio State University where she produced a multi-media audience development series and worked for the Performing Arts Department of the Wexner Center. Robin is drawn to weaving arts organization into the fabric of a city’s culture and is very proud to be a part of AXIS’ 30 years of rule breaking in Oakland. Over the past year, she has participated in the Oakland Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Oakland Program and while working at LINES she co-founded the 24 Days of Central Market Arts Festival and served on the Board of Central Market Community Benefit District.
Erika Evearitt, Development Associate
Breanna Lee, Company Administrator and Production Coordinator
Hannah Rogge, Marketing Associate
Maximilian Urruzmendi, Technical Director & Production Manager
Jamie Doublet, Intern and Production Assistant
Proudly Supported by
Co-Presented by Dancers’ Group and Yerba Buena Gardens Festival
The commissioning and production of this world premiere is made possible by Gerbode-Hewlett Foundation's 2014 Choreographer Commission Awards Initiative.
With additional Support from:
California Arts Council Artists Activating Communities Program
National Endowment for the Arts
San Francisco Arts Commission - Grants for the Arts
The Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation
New Music USA
Zellerbach Family Foundation