School of Dance graduate student Heather Boni came to Florida State to study the intersections of dance, disability and community and, along with her MFA, is pursuing a certificate in Art and Community Practice. In her first semester, AXIS Dance Company, one of the country’s preeminent mixed ability companies, was in residence with MANCC and Boni was able to work directly with the company, participating in both off site research and in studio movement development. Boni also met with AXIS Company Artistic Director Judith Smith, who agreed to mentor her thesis project. Subsequently, Smith invited Boni to intern with AXIS, assisting choreographer and AXIS Guest Artistic Director Marc Brew, during the company’s 2015 summer intensive. Boni’s scholarship will help offset costs associated with the opportunity of which she says:
“The experiences I will gain from working with Judy and Marc, observing the way they run their companies and teach mixed-ability groups, will provide me with new skills, a sense of pedagogical confidence, and creativity in my future endeavor to provide more opportunities for people with disabilities to experience the arts.”
Senior Shamar Watt was able to work closely with MANCC Returning Choreographic Fellow Nora Chipaumire during her February residency as she developed her work, portrait of myself as my father. Watt began as an understudy, but was soon invited to perform in her two work-in-progress showings; one held for the SOD’s MANCC class and the other a public showing drawing an audience from across the Tallahassee community. From there, Chipaumire invited Watt to travel to Senegal this summer to both be in residence with her at the notable association Jant-Bi / l’Ecole des Sables, near Dakar, and to perform in her work at the Duo Solo Danse Festival. Jant-Bi / l’Ecole des Sables was founded in 1998 by Germaine Acogny, who has often been called the “mother of contemporary African dance”, with the aim of giving young dancers from the whole of Africa professional training, an international perspective, and a solid foundation in their life as an artist.
Along with gaining experience as a collaborator, Watt will also have the opportunity to develop his own work under the mentorship of Chipaumire, of whom he says:
“Nora’s insight on dance in relation to the world and her voice has immensely moved me and influenced me as an artist. The manner in which she addresses social/ global issues are all along the path I would like to take as an emerging artist, refining and developing my voice and my place in the world/dance world.”
MANCC Hatchery Project Artist luciana achugar in residence – 5/16/15-5/27/15