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In popular music, you’ve got a jam-packed several days ahead of you. Everyone from Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull to Kesha to Smashing Pumpkin Billy Corgan are headed our way. Jim Harrington’s concert picks for the next several days are here. And let’s not forget the jam-happy unlikely country star Zac Brown, who will be bringing his band to Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View on Oct. 27. Details are here. And in the world music realm, Malian kora master Ballaké Sissoko is touring again with French cellist Vincent Segal, and they have two Bay Area shows coming up. Details are here.
Click here if you’re having trouble viewing the video on your mobile device, OAKLAND — Carina Ho and her family were returning to the Bay Area from a road trip to Hearst Castle when a semi-trailer barreled pointe shoes feet into the rear of their car, “I looked around to check on my family and instinctively knew my mother wasn’t going to make it,” recalled Ho, a 30-year-old Oakland resident, who was driving. “Then I looked down and realized I couldn’t move my legs, It was very scary.”, Her mother was killed in the August 2014 crash, Her step-father suffered a traumatic brain injury, Ho was left paralyzed from the chest down..
Dancing — or anything active for that matter— was the last thing Ho thought she would ever do again. But a friend suggested that she check out AXIS Dance Company. The Oakland nonprofit pairs able-bodied dancers and dancers with physical disabilities together in performances of contemporary works. Ho joined AXIS as an apprentice in 2016 and became a full-fledged company member this year. She will perform at the company’s 30th anniversary season “Onward and Upward” at Oakland’s Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts Thursday through Sunday, Oct. 26-29.
“It’s been a real life-changer in the darkest hours of my life that I was able to find this company,” Ho said, “It gave me the opportunity to re-train my body and rediscover the body I’m in.”, Ho had been studying ballet since childhood, She’d branched out into contemporary, West African and belly dancing, all physically demanding forms, It took her awhile to warm to the idea of pointe shoes feet people on stage in wheelchairs as a form of dance, After her visit to AXIS, she almost didn’t come back..
“It was traumatic to suddenly be in a wheelchair and see all these dancers doing all these movements I used to be able to do just months before but couldn’t do any longer,” she said. Her sisters encouraged her to give it another chance. Out of the blue, AXIS offered her an apprenticeship. “I’ve really been working a lot with Carina to push her physically because she’s only been in her chair for three years now,” said AXIS artistic director and choreographer Marc Brew. “Rediscovering dance as a disabled dancer is new to her, so I’ve been working to build her confidence and strength.”.
Dwayne Scheuneman, a fellow AXIS dancer, said Ho’s agility with her chair has improved, “You can also really see her ballet training,” Scheuneman said, “She has a real grace and elegance to her.”, Ho says she’s not an “amazing wheelchair dancer.” But AXIS has inspired her to put herself on stage as a performer with a disability sharing her story, “I really want people to see me past my wheelchair,” Ho said, “I’m the same person I used to be, I just happen to move pointe shoes feet around the world in a wheelchair.”..
Before the accident, Ho was working at a tech company that sold educational training materials — even though her passion was performing and making music. “The injury was a turning point,” she said. “I figure life is real short, so you better do what you want right now.”. She recently released a four-song music project called Onikho, combining classical piano training and Electronica. The inspiration grew out of the piano chords Ho would play after the accident when she was housebound and had to wear a neck brace. The loss of her mom had begun to sink in, and the fact that her life would never be the same.
“It was one of the most powerful ways to relieve the grief I was feeling,” Ho said, “And those chord progressions became songs.”, After the accident, Ho was airlifted to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, where she underwent spinal fusion surgery, She spent six weeks in the hospital, Her injury had disrupted many of the autonomic bodily functions that people take for granted, She felt shame over her sudden incontinence and frustrated with her inability to perform basic tasks, Ho said she watched pointe shoes feet YouTube videos to help her re-learn everything from how to put her pants on to getting into a car..