Laboratory -- | October 5 - 18, 2014
Coinciding with the 10th Anniversary of MANCC programming, AXIS Dance Company, one of the world’s leading contemporary repertory companies featuring dancers with and without physical disabilities, returned to MANCC for their second residency. The project provided AXIS with a period of research and development with choreographers Nichole Canuso (PA), Beth Gill (NY) and Jill Sigman (NY) each of whom are former MANCC Fellows and who worked with AXIS for the first time during this residency.
Nichole Canuso was the first artist-in-residence with AXIS. She mined the personal histories of the dancers, recalling memories of family members and details of the dancers’ childhood homes to inspire and create movement. She combined this work with partnering and speaking structures that encouraged a delicate negotiation of agency and responsiveness. On her last day in residence, Canuso convened the MANCC staff and FSU Dance students for an informal showing of the material generated with the dancers.
Jill Sigman followed Canuso, turning to the environment as a source of material. She connected principles of permaculture to choreography, considering both as design philosophies for living systems. While in residence, Sigman and AXIS met with Tallahassee permaculturist Anna Lee and visited her site, LuluLand. Sigman brought fresh sod and other natural materials into the rehearsal studio for the dancers to experience and explore, connecting them to green space in the studio. Sigman ended her time in residence with a School of Dance forum, in which the dancers showed some of the ways they had been working in the studio.
Beth Gill was the final artist-in-residence with AXIS, and she focused her time on developing both simple movements (accepting movement as a natural and innate response to the "here" and "now") and partner work through the mechanics and physics of two bodies in motion rather than through the aesthetic of the duet. Gill also hosted an informal showing on the final day of her residency.
Choreographer Sonya Delwaide, who has set numerous works on AXIS, joined early in the residency to serve as artistic mentor for the project. Near the conclusion of the residency, Artistic Director Judith Smith hosted a conversation with MANCC Director Carla Peterson on the legacy of AXIS, including their inception, history and challenges of being a physically integrated repertory company.
This residency was supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.