AXIS Dance Company is celebrating its 30th season, and new Artistic Director Marc Brew, with a program called Onward and Upward at the Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts in Oakland. The physically-integrated company’s mission is to bring dancers with and without physical restrictions together. Founder and former Artistic Director Judith Smith says that they’ve commissioned about 35 new works for the company, and helped choreographers and other companies discover a new vocabulary of dance.

You can find out more about the performance at the AXIS Dance Company website.

Marc Brew says putting the focus on the talents of the individual dancers and their interactions results in powerful collaborations. “At the base of it, I really want them to be who they are as people. So this work is very much about drawing on that. And also, how they work together as a collective, as a team. And through that, that strength and power comes through their work… So how do I work with restriction, with one’s physicality, with one’s differences. And how do we find the possibilities and solutions?” He had to change his career trajectory twenty years ago, when he was in a car accident. He had been a classically trained dancer. “There’s this expectation for you to fulfill a certain model or a certain mold of dancer. But then acquiring my disability, I didn’t fit into that mold any longer. So I had to start to create my own molds, or break the mold completely, and explore what I could do.” But what many might see as obstacles, he’s turned into creative possibility. “I very much enjoy the challenge and the problems, and how we can work with them to our advantage. And I think that’s what helps to create interesting possibilities and maybe movement and vocabulary that isn’t as familiar as traditional dance is.”

Here are excerpts from a previous work that Marc Brew choreographed for AXIS Dance Company: