Three dancers are sweating under their choreographer’s demanding eye. They turn, jump, and lean into each other, flowing across the room. The sound of bare feet mixes with the squeaking of rubber against the floor.
That’s the sound of dancer Joel Brown’s wheelchair. As he propels into a turn, the other dancers, Sonsheree Giles and Sebastian Grubb, match his movements, but on their feet. Then choreographer Marc Brew, who’s been watching from the front of the studio, glides over to the trio. He’s also in a wheelchair.
This is a rehearsal for AXIS Dance Company, a pioneer in a dance form it calls “physically integrated dance,” which uses both disabled and non-disabled dancers. Though AXIS has been around for more than 20 years, it’s still rare to see this kind of work.
The Bay Area’s cultural diversity is translated in so many different ways; you can hear it in how many languages are spoken here. For parents wanting their children to be immersed in another language, there are 50 immersion programs , mostly teaching Mandarin, Spanish, and French, but there is one school in Berkeley that’s one of the first Persian immersion preschools. It’s called Golestan Kids, named after a province in Iran that was a vital Persian stop on the silk road, thousands of years ago. Golestan kids is not just a Farsi language school, it’s a full cultural immersion experience.