Master Class with AXIS Dance Company


Wednesday, October 21, 2020, 7:00pm to 8:30pm


Online via Zoom meeting
The AXIS Dance Company dancers make various shapes with their bodies against a grey background; they’re wearing street clothes w



Date: Wednesday, October 21, 2020
Time: 7-8:30pm EST
Teachers: Sonsherée Giles and DeMarco Sleeper
Location: Zoom link to be provided to all registrants
Access provided: Closed captioning. Please email for any other access support needed.

Join AXIS Dance Company Rehearsal Director Sonsherée Giles and Company Dancer DeMarco Sleeper for a virtual master class as part of the Harvard Dance Center’s Visiting Artist Series. Giles and Sleeper will introduce elements of contemporary dance through the lens of physically integrated dance for people with and without physical disabilities. Using inclusive movement exploration, improvisation, and modern techniques, the class will provide an insight into the AXIS Dance Company movement vocabulary. The class is designed for adults with and without disabilities who have some dance, athletic, or movement experience. There will be time at the end for a Q&A with Giles and Sleeper


This is a live virtual master class in a Zoom meeting format, open to the Harvard and Boston dance communities. Class size is limited and priority will be given to Harvard University undergraduate students. Participants must be age 18 or over.

This event is part of the Harvard Dance Center's Fall 2020 Visiting Artists Series, supported by the Office for the Arts. In honor of the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), each visiting artist brought to the Dance Center this year is explicitly working at the intersection of dance and disability.

PHOTO: AXIS Dance Company, 2019. Photo by David DeSilva. Dancers (left to right): DeMarco Sleeper, Lani Dickinson, Yuko Monden Juma, AJ Guevara, JanpiStar.

IMAGE DESCRIPTION: The AXIS Dance Company dancers make various shapes with their bodies against a grey background; they’re wearing street clothes with diverse colors and textures. Some dancers use wheelchairs, while other dancers kneel and stand.



Based in Oakland, CA, and founded in 1987, AXIS Dance Company is an internationally acclaimed dance ensemble of disabled and non-disabled performers. In 1998, Judith Smith took over Artistic Direction, and visioning a repertory company quickly trajected AXIS into the dance world with a commission by Bill T. Jones. Under her direction until 2017, AXIS toured to over 100 cities in the USA, Israel, UK, Europe and Russia. The Company has received eight Isadora Duncan Dance Awards and has appeared twice on FOX TV’s "So You Think You Can Dance," exposing integrated dance to millions. In 2017, AXIS appointed acclaimed international choreographer and dancer Marc Brew to the position of Artistic Director. Marc Brew comes to AXIS with over 20 years of performance and Artistic Direction experience. Alongside their artistic performance program the Company provides unparalleled integrated dance education and outreach programs. From recreational to professional training, AXIS builds access to dance education for people of all ages with and without disabilities.


Sonsherée Giles is a dancer, choreographer, teacher, and costume designer. Originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, she moved to the Bay Area to attend Mills College where she received a M.F.A in performance/choreography. From 2005-2015, she was a teaching artist and Associate Director with AXIS Dance Company. Sonsheree has shared her choreography and performed for audiences throughout the US and abroad. She has been honored to receive an Isadora Duncan Dance Award for performance and a Homer Avila Award for Excellence in the field of integrated dance. She is thrilled to return to AXIS Dance Company as the Artistic Advisor and Rehearsal Director.


DeMarco Sleeper was born and raised in Cleveland, OH. In school, a mentor saw potential in Demarco to be involved in music and dancing. His high school show choir director then was a huge influence in being involved with musical theatre. Before ever taking any formal dance training, Demarco choreographed for the middle school show choir and high school basketball half time routines in the district from which he graduated. He worked with the Fine Arts Association in Mentor, OH choreographing for summer theatre. He was in two productions with FAA, “Peter Pan” and “Seussical.” In 2014 he joined the Dancing Wheels Company based in Cleveland, Ohio Demarco continues to be involved in his own music production, singing, rapping, recording and playing instruments. He began his first season at FullRadiusDance Aug. 7th 2017.



Date/Time: Thurs, Oct. 22: 7-8pm ET
Access provided: Closed captioning provided
Format: Online via Zoom meeting
An intimate conversation led by Harvard undergraduate students with AXIS company members Bradford Chin, Yuko Monden Juma, Sonsherée Giles, AJ Guevara , DeMarco Sleeper, and JanpiStar for a discussion around disability rights, advocacy, aesthetics, culture, and experience through an intersectional lens. In partnership with the Accessible Education Office and the Office of Diversity Education and Support.