AXISJune 12-14, 2015
AXIS Dance Company
Home Season 2015/Onward
Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts
June 12 (8pm) – Target family performance
June 13 (8pm) – LGBTQ night out
June 14 (2pm)
Tickets: $10-25


With a shared desire to address the resilience of veterans, AXIS Dance Company joins forces with beloved SF-based choreographer Joe Goode and composer Ben Juodvalkis to create a new work, to go again.   Bay area audiences will have the opportunity to witness the world premiere of this work before it goes on a 14 city tour in 2015/16 with accompanied outreach activities serving veteran communities throughout the U.S.

Other works on AXIS’ 2015 home season include the world premiere of a collaborative work by the Foundry’s Alex Ketley and Bobbi Jene Smith, former Batsheva dancer and AXIS’ guest Gaga teacher. This season will also include the Bay Area premiere of Dix minutes plus tard, Sonya Delwaide’s evocative and theatrical female duet. “There is a pressing need in our communities to frankly address how we are supporting our veterans who have returned from service or are still serving,” said Judith Smith, Artistic Director of AXIS Dance Company. “As concerned citizens, the veterans’ situation has weighed heavily on many of us. Members of our company know what it is like to live with challenges associated with disability and we believe the stories of veterans’ resiliency are important stories to share.”


Keon Saghari (dancer) was born and raised in Los Gatos, Califonria. She trained with Ballet San Jose School and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Alonzo King LINES Ballet/ Dominican University of California with a BFA in Dance. Over the years, she has performed works by Robert Battle, Amanda K. Miller, Christian Burns, Gregory Dawson, Kara Davis, and Maurya Kerr. Keon has danced professionally with Ballet San Jose Company, Labayen Dance/SF, Binki Danz, David Herrera Performance Company, Concept o4, and toured in China with ZiRu Dance. She is also a certified Bikram Yoga Instructor and the director of her upcoming dance film company KEE. Keon joined AXIS as a guest artist in March 2015.

Dwayne (dancer) was an accomplished wheelchair Track and Field athlete when in 2002 he sought out dance as a means of cross training. The physicality and the creativity of dance quickly leaped to the forefront of Dwayne’s interest and he began taking dance classes and performing with Asher Dance Eclectic in Tampa Fl. It was also at this time when he began taking workshops and attending dance festival with internationally recognized dance companies such as AXIS dance, CANDOCO and others. In August of 2005, Dwayne started REVolutions dance, a physically integrated company in Tampa. Since that time, Dwayne has collaborated with choreographers and dancers to create and perform in numerous dance pieces. Dwayne also established a weekly dance class for children with and without disabilities in Tampa and has worked with children with disabilities throughout the states and abroad. Dwayne has had a close relationship with AXIS dance for several years and is grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the AXIS family.

Born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, Julie (dancer) has been dancing since a very young age, training in ballet, contemporary, jazz, tap, and improvisation. In May 2014, she graduated from Elon University in Elon, North Carolina earning a BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography and a BA in Arts Administration. During her undergraduate studies, Julie also conducted a performance-based research study into the intersection of choreography, improvisation, and autobiographical performance. Most recently Julie has danced professionally with NC-based contemporary dance company Renay Aumiller Dances (RAD), performing at the American Dance Festival in June 2014. Julie’s choreography has been presented at multiple venues in North Carolina, as well as in New York, Tennessee, at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research in Lexington, Kentucky, and at the American College Dance Festival Association, Southeast Region gala performance at Georgia College. Julie joined AXIS in July 2014.

Nick (dancer) is a freelance performing artist originally from Silver Spring, MD and a 2014 addition to the AXIS family. Dance and choreography are at the forefront of his crafts, but he also sings, acts and plays a few instruments. Though musical theater was his primary artistic outlet throughout high school, it was afterward at Amherst College where dance became a formal pursuit and ultimately his major. Since then he has performed with dance companies on both US Coasts spanning different genres such as South African, Afro-Caribbean and experimental modern.   In addition to being a movement-teaching artist throughout the Bay Area he is the dance captain for the SambaFunk! Carnaval contingent as well as rehearsal & management director for the street dance theater company Embodiment Project. Collectively, his performing career ranges from dinner theater, award ceremonies, parades, internet music videos, short films and beyond.

Originally from England, Sophie (dancer) received a First class BA hons in Dance and Theater Performance in 2004. After a few years freelancing in more commercial projects she was introduced to the world of integrated dance after being employed as a support worker for a wheelchair dependent professional dancer. One great thing led to another and she ended up touring nationally and internationally with UK based integrated company, Stopgap, for several years. Marriage to a Californian man brought Sophie over to the bay area in 2012 where she has since danced with Risa Jaroslow, Dance Monks, Liz Boubion and as a guest artist for Axis before joining the company full time in 2014. She is delighted to be dancing with Axis and to have been given the opportunity to delve into the endless wonders and complexities of integrated dance on this side of the Atlantic.

About AXIS Dance Company

AXIS Dance Company is highly regarded the world over for its unflagging artistic and educational standards and for paving the way for physically integrated dance within the contemporary dance community. More than any other physically integrated company in the U.S., AXIS Dance Company has been a bridge between contemporary dance and physically integrated dance. The company of seven dancers with and without disabilities has performed in theaters and dance spaces at its home base in the Bay Area, on tour throughout the U.S., as well as in Germany and Russia. Under the Artistic Direction of Judith Smith, the Company’s list of collaborators reads like a Who’s Who of contemporary dance – Bill T. Jones, Stephen Petronio, Joe Goode, Joanna Haigood, Victoria Marks, Ann Carlson, Margaret Jenkins, Sonya Delwaide, Alex Ketley, David Dorfman, Shinichi Iova-Koga, Meredith Monk, Fred Frith, and Joan Jeanrenaud. Some recent professional highlights include extensive touring throughout the U.S., multi-year commissions from the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, and being named one of the Bay Area’s top 10 high impact non-profit organizations by Philanthropedia. AXIS Dance Company is a many-time Isadora Duncan Dance Award (Izzie) winner and was featured on the nationally broadcast FOX television show So You Think You Can Dance in 2011 and 2012.

About Joe Goode (Choreographer)

Joe Goode is a choreographer, writer, and director widely known as an innovator in the field of dance for his willingness to collide movement with spoken word, song, and visual imagery. He was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in 2007, and the United States Artists Glover Fellowship in 2008. In 2006 Goode directed the opera Transformations for the San Francisco Opera Center. His play Body Familiar, commissioned by the Magic Theatre in 2003, was met with critical acclaim.

The Joe Goode Performance Group, formed in 1986, tours regularly throughout the U.S., and has toured internationally to Canada, Europe, South America, Africa, and the Middle East. Goode is known as a master teacher; his summer workshops in “felt performance” attract participants from around the world, and the company’s teaching residencies on tour are hugely popular. He is a member of the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley in the department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies.

Goode’s performance-installation works have been commissioned by the Fowler Museum of Natural History in Los Angeles, Krannert Art Museum, the Capp Street Project, the M.H. de Young Museum, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

The Pennsylvania Ballet, Zenon Dance Company, AXIS DANCE COMPANY and Dance Alloy Theater have commissioned Goode’s dance theater work among others. Goode and his work have been recognized by numerous awards for excellence including the American Council on the Arts, the New York Dance and Performance Award (Bessie), and Isadora Duncan Dance Awards (Izzies).

About Ben Juodvalkis (Composer)

After receiving his BA in music from UC Santa Cruz in 2005, Ben Juodvalkis moved to San Francisco to pursue music and composition. Since 2007 he has composed more than 50 pieces for dance companies across the United States, and recently expanded into film scoring, interactive museum installations, and musical theater. Additionally Ben has released 5 albums and toured extensively with his rock band Battlehooch.

About Sonya Delwaide (Choreographer)

Sonya Delwaide is Associate Professor of the Mills Dance Department. Her reputation as choreographer, teacher and performer has flourished within the United States and Canada for more than three decades. A native of Quebec, she has received a BFA with Honor in Dance from York University in Toronto, Canada. Since 1996 Ms. Delwaide has been residing in the Bay Area where critics favorably noticed her work: she has been profiled in San Francisco Magazine, received a Bay Area Goldie Award (from the San Francisco Bay Guardian), was named in the 2001 Top 10 list from the San Francisco Chronicle and in the Dance Magazine’s Top 25 people to watch in 2002 and finally, has recently received a second Isadora Duncan award (for best revival).

As a choreographer she created more than 70 pieces on companies such as Oakland Ballet, Ottawa Ballet, L’Ecole Supérieure des Grands Ballets Canadiens, Hubbard Street, AXIS Dance Company, Berkeley Ballet Theater, Compagnie de Danse L’Astragale (for whom she was the artistic director from 1992 to 1999) amongst others. Ms. Delwaide has received awards from the Canada Council, the Quebec and Ontario Arts’ Councils, the Zellerbach Family Fund, the Gerbode and Irvine Foundation and more recently was given a Sarlo award for Excellence in Teaching from Mills College. She was a winner in the 2006 New American Choreographic Talent organized by Ballet Austin and the 2000 winner of Hubbard Street 2 National Choreographic Competition. Ms. Delwaide has been invited to teach at the school of the National Ballet of Canada, les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Alvin Ailey Dance Company and various professional colleges and studios in the US and Canada.

About Alex Ketley (Choreographer)

Alex Ketley is an independent choreographer and the director of The Foundry, a contemporary dance company based in San Francisco. Formally a classical dancer with the San Francisco Ballet (1994-1998), he performed a wide range of classical and contemporary repertory including the work of William Forsythe, James Kudelka, and George Balanchine in San Francisco and on tour throughout the world.

In 1998 he left the San Francisco Ballet to co-found The Foundry in order to explore his deepening interests in choreography, improvisation, mixed media work, and collaborative process. As a choreographer independent of his work with The Foundry, Alex Ketley has been commissioned to create original pieces for companies and universities throughout the United States and Europe. For this work he has received acknowledgement from the Hubbard Street 2 National Choreographic Competition (2001), the International Choreographic Competition of the Festival des Arts de Saint-Saveaur (2004), the National Choo-San Goh Award (2005), the inaugural Princess Grace Award for Choreography (2005), the BNC National Choreographic Competition (2008), three CHIME Fellowships (2007, 2008, and 2012), two Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography Residencies (2007 and 2009), the Gerbode-Hewlett Choreographer Commissioning Award (2009), and the National Eben Demarest Award (2012). His pieces and collaborations have also been awarded Isadora Duncan Awards in the categories of Outstanding Achievement by an Ensemble (2009), Outstanding Achievement in Choreography (2011), and Outstanding Achievement by a Company (2011 & 2012).

For 2011, in addition to commissions from Ballet Leipzig and the Juilliard School, his AXIS Dance Company work “To Color Me Different” was presented on national television through an invitation from the show So You Think You Can Dance. With The Foundry in 2012, he was deeply engaged in a new project entitled “No Hero” which explored what dance means and how it is experienced by people throughout more rural parts of the United States. The video projection Alex created for No Hero was nominated for a 2012 Isadora Duncan Award for Outstanding Achievement in Visual Design.

In early 2013, he was a visiting professor and artist at Florida State University, where he taught ballet, created a new work, and served as an advisor to the MFA students in their choreography. He was also awarded the first Princess Grace Foundation Choreography Mentorship Co-Commission Award (CMCC), which he is using to work on a collaborative project with Miguel Guiterrez in 2014.

Along with his direction of The Foundry and his various independent projects, he helped Summer Lee Rhatigan create The San Francisco Conservatory of Dance in 2004, an organization where he still serves as an advisor, teacher, and the Resident Choreographer. Stemming from a classical foundation, the school is deeply invested in advanced students learning and growing though the engagement of contemporary choreography. He is currently on faculty at Stanford University.

About Bobbi Jene Smith (Choreographer)

Bobbi Jene Smith is from Ames, Iowa. She is an alumna of the Juilliard School, North Carolina School of the Arts, and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School. She is currently teaching Gaga at Stanford University. For the past nine years she has been creating and dancing in Tel Aviv, Israel as a member of the Batsheva Dance Company. She is authorized by Ohad Naharin to teach his Gaga movement language and set his choreography. Bobbi has worked and collaborated with a variety of artists around the world.