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 Bernard Brown

PUSH Dance Company is proud to present choreography by Bernard Brown on September 29-30, 2018 for PUSHfest Program B at ODC Theater in San Francisco. 


Tell us a little bit about your dance background.

Dance has been part of my life for over 25 years. Some of my performance credits include Lula Washington Dance Theatre, TU Dance, Shapiro & Smith Dance, Doug Elkins Dance Company, Donald McKayle, David Rousseve, Rennie Harris, Rudy Perez, Aveda and Nike. I was invited to perform with Mikhail Baryshnikov in Robert Wilson’s “Letter to a Man” with choreography by Lucinda Childs at Royce Hall, UCLA. Though Bernard Browwn/bbmoves was founded in 2014, I have been choreographing dances for the concert stage, for the camera and non-traditional performance spaces since 2002.

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

“Leanin’ In” was created in early 2017. This solo simply shows determination of spirit. It is exploring how movement, space and intention can translate to freedom for the body, mind and spirit. Featuring music by composer Steven T. Gordon.

What are the major sources of inspiration for your choreography?

Major influences of my choreography are the lives and stories of people, particularly those of the African diaspora and other marginalized groups. Telling stories of the people give light  to stories relegated to the shadows and makes them more visible. I am intrigued by notions of resilience, of love and of courage. Some stories are of historical fact while others are more fictional yet they all are based in a truth – real or proposed. Dance can model truths that have yet to be seen.

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

I have always imagined myself being a teacher. When in elementary school, I wanted to teach history as my profession. The arts garnered my attention shortly after. Now, I believe my passions are meshing; I only wanted to dance before. Now, I love teaching dance with a historical framework.

What advice would you pass on to an aspiring choreographer?

To aspiring choreographers: Experiment. Continue to learn. See as much dance as you can! See as much art, theatre, music as you can!

Learn more: http://bbmoves1.wixsite.com/bbmoves