A New Artistic Director Feels Right at Home

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Axis Dance Company members rehearse their new piece 'Radical Impact' (Photo: Cy Musiker/KQED)

Axis Dance is celebrating its 30th anniversary, with a new artistic  director in charge. He's Marc Brew, a dancer and choreographer from Glasgow, who says he feels right at home at Axis, based at Oakland's Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts, because he's worked with the company so often in the past. Axis is an integrated dance company, meaning some of its dancers have disabilities. Founding director Judith Smith uses a wheelchair, as does Brew; one of the dancers has one arm; and none of that matters when they're moving to the music with grace and agility.

Brew's calls his new dance Radical Impact, with original music by Oakland's Joowan Kim, the leader of the Ensemble Mik Nawooj. Brew says it offers a showcase for the company’s dancers to explain who they really are. "One of the tasks I gave the dancers, (when I first arrived) was a writing task, and the question I gave them was how has your identity  changed or shifted during your lifetime," Brew told me after a rehearsal in Oakland. "And they haven't shared that response with anyone, and the second movement begins in silence with their solos when they begin to reveal who they are as people." Also on the program a dance by the great Amy Seiwert. For the Axis Home Season, details here.