One way or another, everybody's abled in Axis Dance Company | Performing Arts Sidebar | Chicago Reader

One way or another, everybody's abled in Axis Dance Company 

The "physically integrated" ensemble from California performs at the Auditorium Theatre

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Axis Dance Company makes it abundantly clear: disabilities are in the eye of the beholder. Founded in 1987, this Oakland-based, "physically integrated" troupe has taken on choreography by the likes of Bill T. Jones and David Dorfman. Watching video of the three pieces to be performed here, I was gobsmacked first by the feats. How many "able-bodied" folks could pop a wheelchair wheelie? But the pieces also reveal that Axis isn't about show-offy displays. This is just plain good dance, passionate and intricate. A duet in Alex Ketley's 2008 Vessel erases any sense of the differences between a man in a wheelchair and a woman on her feet as they first confront then reconcile with each other—and topple to the floor. Marc Brew's 2011 Full of Words situates a man and woman in a Barcalounger, performing lifts and revolutions a lot sexier than you'll find in most romantic duets. When she disappears behind the lounger and the lights dim, you wonder whether he dreamed it all. Dorfman's playful 2009 Light Shelter completes the program.

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