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 Chalk Dance

PUSH Dance Company is proud to present choreography by collaborators Shannon May and Lauren Yeung on Wednesday October 7, 2020 LIVE at 6 PM. 

This Fall, join us for PUSHfest Global, our virtual dance festival featuring 18 choreographers from the Bay Area and beyond. From October 7 through November 18, each Wednesday evening at 6 PM meet a new group of PUSHfest Artists for dynamic conversations about dance and activism. | Tickets & More Here

Tell us a little bit about your dance background.
Shannon and Lauren met while training together at Arts Umbrella in Vancouver, BC Canada. They completed the graduate program, which was focused mainly on ballet and contemporary dance training. After graduating, they moved to the Netherlands to dance with the junior contemporary company, Dance in Art. Under the direction of Martine van Santen they explored contemporary dance and developed their own artistic processes. It was during this time that they began creating movement together and were inspired to, one day, found their own dance collective, Chalk, and develop their own work.

What are the major sources of inspiration for your choreography? What are you curious about?
We are deeply passionate about storytelling and have always carried a narrative in the back of our minds when creating movement. In our dance collective “Chalk”, that we have co-founded, we have been exploring how to communicate interesting stories through movement. We want to combine the art of story telling and movement to present our audience with something they can connect with; and something that provokes new ideas. Our goal is for the audience to walk away having discovered something new about themselves, us or the world around them.

If you hadn’t chosen this career, what might you be doing with your life?
Lauren thinks she would have pursued a career in production design. It would combine her love of cinema with her natural ability in the visual arts, and provide her with a necessary creative outlet. Shannon believes she would have gone a more academic route; studying and following a career path in either history or physics.

What does your work respond to or activate, within this world or within yourself?
This piece is a response to the mad and frantic rush of the modern world. At the time that it was created, we were feeling frantic and overwhelmed. We wanted to express that sense of agitation and unease that comes from the fatigue of being overworked. We also wanted to highlight how this state so easily leads to overconsumption and unmindful waste. It was a cathartic creative process that allowed us to relieve our stress through movement.

What advice would you pass on to an aspiring choreographer?
Push yourself to move in new ways and experiment with improvisation. Challenge yourself not to get stuck in the same comfortable movements. Get in the studio as much as you can, but be mindful not to exhaust yourself. It’s okay if you aren’t inspired that day. Your creative mind needs time to recharge as well. Try looking for inspiration from things in your environment. Draw from personal experiences and feelings to create something that is uniquely your perspective, because the world is lacking different stories.

Learn more:
instagram: @chalk.dance
facebook: facebook.com/Chalk.dance