World Premiere Of Arthur Pita's Alice In Californiland Headlines AXIS Dance Company's 2019 Home Season
AXIS Dance Company is thrilled to announce its first international commission under the direction of Artistic Director Marc Brew as the headliner of its 2019 Home Season, In·ter·twine: Alice in Californiland from renowned choreographer Arthur Pita. The inspiration is "the theme of homelessness mashed up with the story of Alice in Wonderland, where we will try to delicately find our way into both those portholes with these characters," says Pita. "What we are attempting here is difficult, yes, but that is the job of art, and we want it be hard-hitting, moving, humorous, entertaining and poignant."
Pita has worked in San Francisco several times, including with SF Ballet, which featured his Bjork Ballet in both 2018 and 2019 to great acclaim. The idea of Alice in Californiland stemmed from his reaction to the displacement, homelessness and addiction he saw and felt in the Bay Area, which being based in the UK, stunned him. "So, when I got the opportunity to work with AXIS, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to express this complex issue, but also to set it in a world which could juxtaposition the harsh realities, which made me ask questions about reality itself. AXIS Dance Company is a daring and important organization that has encouraged me to go on this journey and the dancers are wonderfully talented - I am thrilled to go on this voyage with them."
Brew first encountered Pita and his creative process in 2007 when Pita created The Stepfather for Candoco Dance Company, a company that Brew was dancing with at the time. "I am very excited about what Arthur will bring to AXIS with this piece," says Brew. "Through his knowledge of working with both physically integrated and non-integrated contemporary dance companies-and his vast international experience and collaborative creative process-Arthur will take our dancers and audiences on a journey that draws on his research along with his keen skill of building narrative, developing characters and creating a theatrical landscape to tell a story. It is sure to be a visual feast of dance-theater, storytelling and striking imagery that will push and challenge our company onto new territory."
AXIS and Arthur Pita would like to thank Mary Savvanah, Martin de Porres House of Hospitality and the Coalition on Homelessness, for serving as community partners in terms of research for the piece without whom this project would not have been possible.
A short, early workshop video of Arthur discussing the process for Alice in Californiland in July of 2018 can be found here
Robert Dekkers' Flutter-which has been noted for its music being something dancers dance against rather than with, was originally staged for Post: Ballet with an all-female cast, an all-male cast, and then a mixed gender cast; the work has been refocused by Dekkers through the lens of physically integrated dance as a way of highlighting the skills of the individual AXIS dancers as well as how they come together as a cohesive company. This will be the first time Flutter will be performed in a fully produced manner by AXIS Dance Company.
"Flutter was the first work I ever created for Post:Ballet, and over the years its intention has evolved to highlight the particular dancers in the work," says Dekkers. "Originally created with three women, the second iteration was staged with three men and the third was set on a mixed gender cast. That trio has "sat on the shelf" since, but I always secretly hoped I'd have the chance to rework it one last time with the AXIS dancers. I feel that this is an important final step in the work's evolution, an affirmation that ALL bodies are beautiful, powerful, and strong."
Jennifer Archibald is creating a new piece for the home season that will center on ideas of gratitude being the key to making sense of the past and unlocking the fullness of life.
"It's important to me that the dancers I work with can personalize the work. Being truthful on stage is empowering and seeing the artists come to terms with their individual connections to gratefulness is a journey that can be shared by everyone involved in the rehearsal process," says Archibald.
Says Brew: "I have thoughtfully invited three choreographers working in a variety of styles of dance; Robert Dekkers (Post:Ballet, San Francisco), Jennifer Archibald (Arch Dance Company, New York) and Arthur Pita (Ballo Arthur Pita, UK). Each choreographer will share their unique choreographic voice, taking our dancers through a very different creative process and expand our production values to realize their vision and create a work for our 2019 Home Season In•ter•twine," says Brew. "I wanted to push the boundaries of dance by showing the diversity of our repertoire and the skilled artistry of our dancers who will be challenged in new directions working in collaboration with each choreographer. Fusing contemporary ballet, hip hop, and dance theatre, our triple bill program is sure to appeal to a wide audience who will be moved by the visual feast and exquisite artistry of our company and will experience cutting edge contemporary dance by the nation's leading physically integrated dance company."
AXIS Dance Company's 2019 Home Season In·ter·twine featuring Alice in Californiland
Fri & Sat 8 pm & 2 pm Sun
Z Space, 450 Florida Street, San Francisco CA
Tickets: $20-$50 (tickets are available for purchase starting mid-August at www.zspace.org)