Contemporary Dance Solo #1 with Duet (2016)Shaman Bear

choreography by Christiana Axelsen
performance by Christiana Axelsen and Justin Mock

This work was inspired by my google search for “contemporary dance.” I have been tossing that term around for years in response to my own artistic practice. When I finally googled it, I was unsurprisingly met with a lot of information about competitive and commercial dance. I have absolutely no history with, nor knowledge of, those forms. My interest in the online materials focused on the form of the choreography in relationship to virtuosity – the wild melange of styles and forms (ballet, pedestrian gesture, jazz, acrobatics) punctuated with really quite stunning ‘tricks’ and overt emotionality. My intent was not to replicate commercial dance, but to take inspiration from the choreographic forms, place it inside a sincere ritual of live performance, and allow that dialogue to further define my own practice as a contemporary dance artist. Contemporary Dance Solo #1 with Duet was created during a creative residency at The Space Upstairs in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

February 9, 2016 DanceRoulette Festival, Roulette Center, Brooklyn, New York

January 29, 2016 Space Upstairs, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


Tundra (2013)Tundra_35

choreography by Christiana Axelsen; performance by Andrew Champlin, Quinlan Corbett, Kevin Ho, Maya Lawson, Chana Porter, Anna Schon & Randall Anthony Smith
; dramaturg Megan Smith; original script by Chana Porter; light design by Quin Kennedy

Tundra is an evening-length performance piece inspired by mountaineering, early aviation, arctic exploration and Gaston Bachelard. The work uses the simultaneous presentation of dance and theater as a method to investigate the human fascination with conquering unknown space. Featuring multiple, decentralized islands of action within the stage space, Tundra explored the intimacy of human interactions within a vast landscape and possibilities for active spectatorship.

This work was made possible by a Community Arts Fund Grant Brooklyn Arts Council 2013.

June 6-8, 2013 Invisible Dog Arts Center, Brooklyn, New York

December 15, 2012 BAX Upstart Festival, Brooklyn, New York

November 14, 2012 Irondale Center, Movement Research Open Performance, Brooklyn, New York

October 20, 2012 Women in Motion Salon Series, Brooklyn, New York

October 15, 2012 Dixon Place Works in Progress Series, New York, NY


Money Thinks I’m Dead (2013)Money Thinks I'm Dead

Conceived by Seth Powers, Choreography by Christiana Axelsen, Developed with Heather Hollingsworth Music direction by Michael Fraioli and Seth Powers

A Great American Musical reimagined in silence, rigor, and bare necessity. This choreographic theatre resituates a commercial classic on the outskirts of post-war American culture, taking the work of Merce Cunningham, Mary Caroline Richards, Charles Olson, and other Black Mountain artists as a point of departure. The sentiment and corniness of the original production collide with the clinical, denaturing, liberating art forms of the American avant-garde of the same era, sparking a synergy of voice and body in which abstraction and intimacy can no longer be reliably told apart. The fishing outpost of Gloucester, Massachusetts is the ideal site for this secondhand story of America to be told anew, as Broadway finally meets Black Mountain. Developed and presented as part of a 2012 Mabou Mines Residency.

January 25-27, 2013 Mabou Mines Theater, New York, New York


The Dear Bird Project (2005)

Concept, Choreography and Performance by Christiana Axelsen and Marielle Amrhein

Funding: Mount Holyoke College Alumni Fellowship

March 18-19, 2005 848 Community Space, San Francisco, California

February 22-25, 2005 The Chamber Theater, Seattle, Washington