First year School of Dance MA candidate, Heather Boni, joined AXIS Dance Company, a physically-integrated repertory company, as an engaged observer throughout their October residency at MANCC. Boni came to graduate school with experience teaching dance to individuals with disabilities and intends to focus on the relationship of dance and disability and the connection of these to the greater community for her thesis project. Judith Smith, Artistic Director of AXIS and a nationally recognized advocate for physically integrated dance, has agreed to serve as a mentor for Boni’s thesis, after connecting with her during the residency.
Boni was able to observe the rehearsals of the three choreographers invited to work with AXIS, Nichole Canuso, Jill Sigman and Beth Gill, and their work-in-progress showings. Describing her time in the studio, Heather writes,
“ I was opened to three entirely different, but somehow complementary ways of constructing choreography and interpreting movement. My choreographic process was challenged. I am now asking myself to further stretch my methods and means beyond my normal movement vocabulary and to look further into the physics and mechanics of movement and how our movement relates to our current natural environment.”
Along with studio observation, Boni was able to assist Jill Sigman, after accompanying AXIS to LuluLand, a Tallahassee Permaculture site. In summing up her time in residence with AXIS, Boni says,
“I am so appreciative of the opportunity to observe, shadow, and network with AXIS Dance Company during their residency at MANCC. I am inspired by the creative edge, hard-work, and kind dispositions of the company members. I will remember this experience throughout the rest of my professional artistic career. This has re-inspired me to participate in AXIS’s summer intensive and to continue learning about dance and disability in my pursuit to create more artistic opportunities for people with disabilities to participate in and enjoy dance.”