Raissa Simpson’s PUSH Dance Company Builds Vibrant Contemporary Dances To Gain A Deeper Understanding Of The Challenges Attributed To Mixed Heritage.


In Conversation with Anupama Srivastava

PUSH Dance Company is proud to present choreography by Anupama Srivastava on September 28-30, 2018 for PUSHfest Program A at ODC Theater in San Francisco. 


Tell us a little bit about your dance background.

I have been trained in the North Indian Classical Kathak Dance style since I was six years old. Under the tutelage of the world-renowned Kathak Maestro Padmashri Guru Shovana Narayan, I trained and performed extensively in India over a span of 15 years. After moving to the US, I continued to dance, and performed at local events. I founded InSyncKathak Dance School in 2013, and routinely perform and teach solo, duet and group Kathak choreographies. Some of my choreographies, inspired by critically acclaimed works of my Guru on both traditional and modern topics, have been very well received at performances across several cities in the US and Canada.

What can audiences look forward to seeing in your work at PUSHfest?

There are many different aspects of Kathak, ranging from its story-telling roots invoking ancient Vedic chants steeped in devotion to complex rhythmic compositions and exquisite expressions, and modern choreographic elements. Our presentation at the PUSHfest will showcase each of these facets and will introduce the audience to the vast rhythmic, expressive and spiritual experience that is Kathak! “OM- The Cosmic Dance of Creation” is inspired by the original work of Guru Shovana Narayan, conceived in the late 1980’s and is based on the hypnotizing Sanskrit poem written by Ravana describing Lord Shiva’s attributes and His rhythmic play, the “Tandava”.

What are the major sources of inspiration for your choreography?

I would start this list with the amazing repertoire of my Guru’s work spanning almost 6 decades. Next is the richness of the soul stirring Hindustani Classical music, which forms the background score of most Kathak dances, and draws an elevated level of involvement from the choreographer, performers and audiences alike. Finally, the intriguing research that goes behind conceptualizing Kathak choreographies; serving a slice of history, mythology, literature and culture; all inspire my choreographic works.

If you hadn’t chosen this career, what might you have been doing in your life?

Interesting question! In fact, I did have an alternate career as an engineer in the Silicon Valley. Dancing has always been my passion, my safe and happy place, and I have gravitated towards it at every stage of my life, along with studying, working and raising a family. I took up dancing as a full-time career only recently. I feel blessed to have been able to exercise both the right and left sides of my brain, and it has helped bring a unique balance to my life.

What advice would you pass on to an aspiring choreographer?

To me, strength of technique, the simplicity and clarity of execution and emotional involvement of the dancers speak volumes. Since each choreographer, their processes and preferences are unique, I would encourage them to identify the values most important to them and create work representing their individuality wrapped around those core values.

Learn more: http://inSyncKathak.weebly.com