By Brooke Brown
Photo by Loren Worthington
Dance is an expression of freedom. One finds that life with a disability can be all about boundaries and limitations. In response, we push any boundaries and compensate for limitations with the best solutions that come to mind.
Some activities remain elusive, but dance does not have to be one of them. The Integrated Dance Movement helps people communicate, build relationships and find common ground with others on all mobility and ability levels.
AXIS Dance Company is a frontrunner of that movement. When viewing their performance videos, I saw dancers with various disabilities and typically-abled dancers moving together in seamless masterpieces. I applied for and joined AXIS’ 2011 Summer Intensive. Those ten days taught me that my body is capable of more than I ever imagined. Movement is a language that holds no prejudices and has made a profound impact on my life ever since.
Today, I help the Integrated Dance Movement thrive in Arizona as cofounder of Dance Mixability. Modeled after AXIS Dance Company, we build community across spectrums of age and ability through the shared language of dance. We are the first independent group of this kind in the state. Our mission is to break down the barriers that prevent us from moving and encourage inclusive dance through education, performance and outreach. By incorporating dancers on foot and in wheelchairs, integrated dance adds even more variety to an art based on creative movement.
“As we experiment and explore together we find ways of moving that we didn’t know were possible,” says Allyson Yoder, a Dance Mixability Instructor.