founder & artistic director
Born of a Filipina mother and an African American father, Raissa Simpson brings a unique perspective to her work, continually seeking to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges attributed to mixed heritage.
Photo by Clare Hwang
Raissa Simpson is founder and artistic director of the San Francisco-based PUSH Dance Company. Hailed by Dance Spirit Magazine as “Reflective Contemporary Choreography,” multi-disciplinary choreographer Raissa Simpson has presented her works in over 50 venues across the United States. Recent highlights include Dance St. Louis Spring to Dance Emerson Festival (MO), Links Hall in Chicago (IL), Ferst Center for the Arts at Georgia Tech (GA), Joyce SoHo (NY), Washington Ensemble Theater (WA), Evolve Dance Festival (NY), Los Angeles Theater Center (CA), and Black Choreographers Festival (CA).
Simpsons guest teaching includes UC Davis, Sacramento State, Stanford University, SF State University, Alonzo King Lines Dance Center, Ferst Presents, San Jose Dance Theatre, Marin School, and many others.
Seamlessly integrating interdisciplinary dance, Simpson’s pieces do not reside merely on stage—they are also site-specific installations in public spaces like museums and city centers. Her work is sweeping, vibrant, multi-layered, and socially relevant often involving multiple aspects such as video projection, live music, and cutting-edge choreography. Her works have been honored with awards & funding from the Magrit Mondavi Award, Margaret Jenkin’s CHIME, Choreo-Project’s People’s Choice Award, San Francisco Arts Commission, Zellerbach Family Foundation, CA$H, Dancers’ Group Lighting in Dance Award, San Francisco Foundation, BADw’s 2012 Choreographer of the Year, ODC Theater’s Fleishhacker Opportunity Fund, The Kenneth Rainin Foundation, Grants for the Arts, and AATAIN, a William & Flora Hewlett Foundation program.
Simpson danced with a variety of dance companies and had an extensive performance career with Robert Moses Kin and Joanna Haigood’s Zaccho Dance Theatre. Village Voice dance critic Deborah Jowitt notes, “Simpson dances big.”