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Axis Program a Transformative Experience

by Rita Kohn
November 5, 2015
Clowes Memorial Hall of Butler University
4602 Sunset Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46208
317-940-6444
Rita Kohn is a member of the Board of the Dance Critics Association.
Two dancers, attired in Stephanie Verrieres’ overlaid gauzy lace dresses in black and off-white, walk towards each other, one her back to the audience, the other dancer facing front. Choreographer Sonya Delwaide’s "Dix minutes plus tard" (2013) has the feel of feline body liquidity. I don’t know if cats in roughhouse play and spurts of conciliation were Delwaide’s concepts for this duet, but that’s what I felt and it was mesmerizing. Dancers Julie Crothers and Sophie Stanley swatted as on hind legs, rolled on the floor, lunged and backed off, cuddled and hissed. Their bodies were indistinguishable from Franz Schubert’s Andante for String Quartet No. 15 in G, D.887

The program notes tell us, “This duet is Delwaide’s eighth work for AXIS Dance Company since 1998. She was the first choreographer from outside of AXIS to choreograph on the company. Her theatrical style and intricate partnering is evident in this dance for two women.” Lighting by Patricia Mahoney.

Choreographer Marc Brew says his 2014 work "Divide" draws inspiration from visual artist Carl Andre’s designs working in minimalism: "Spill," "8 cuts" and "Copper Ribbon." "Divide" is an abstract work exploring the divide in human interaction in movement, space and time.

Set on an original score by Caroline Penwarden, and developed in collaboration with dancers Brendan Barthel, Keon Saghari and Dwayne Scheyneman (with a late in the piece appearance by a fourth un-named dancer), we experience the power and diversity of upper body and arm movement that evolves into full body confrontation with one dancer in and out of a wheelchair. It’s free-wheeling and unpredictable. Brew’s 2011 work "Full of Words" became a company favorite. Costumes representing Andre’s designs are by Keriann Elegance. Lighting is by Allen Willner.

Choreographer Joe Goode created “to go again” (2015), as “a new dance theater work that brings to light issues facing our nation’s veterans and addresses their resilience following severe life changes.” It brims over with intense emotion. Verbatim life stories by veterans and family members spur the movement Goode created in unison with dancers Nick Brentley, Julie Crothers, Dwayne Scheuneman and Sophie Stanley and set on an original score by Ben Juodvalkis. Jenny Gonsalves chooses everyday simple dress for the stories evolving as visual storytelling. Jack Carpenter’s lighting design is heavy dark, the original score by Ben Juodvalkis is grating. I began to feel suffocated and wanted out of there. The effect is transformative.

AXIS returns to Indiana on Mar 12, 2016 with a program at the Fort Wayne Dance Collective. More at axisdance.org.
Dancers Julie Crothers, Dwayne Scheuneman, and Sophie Stanley in Joe Goode's 'to go again.'

Dancers Julie Crothers, Dwayne Scheuneman, and Sophie Stanley in Joe Goode's "to go again."

Photo © & courtesy of Dino Corti


Julie Crothers and Sophie Stanley in Sonya Delwaide’s 'Dix minutes plus tard.'

Julie Crothers and Sophie Stanley in Sonya Delwaide’s "Dix minutes plus tard."

Photo © & courtesy of Dino Corti


Dwayne Scheuneman and Keon Saghari in Maurya Kerr, Alex Ketley, and Bobbi Jeane Smith's 'In Defense of Regret.'

Dwayne Scheuneman and Keon Saghari in Maurya Kerr, Alex Ketley, and Bobbi Jeane Smith's "In Defense of Regret."

Photo © & courtesy of Dino Corti

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