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 Courtney Hope & Hien Huynh

PUSH Dance Company is proud to present choreography by Courtney Hope & Hien Huynh on September 29-30, 2018 for PUSHfest Program B at ODC Theater in San Francisco. 


Tell us a little bit about your dance background.

I have studied dance my whole life starting with ballet, jazz and contemporary. Since moving to the Bay Area in 2009, I have had the pleasure to learn from and work with many talented artists that have shaped the work and the way I move today.  I have been able to dive deeper into the contemporary form and enrich it with training in breaking, Gaga and hip-hop. (Courtney)

In middle school, to impress the ladies, I joined a breaking club. (without my parents’ approval, I sort of lied and said I was enrolling in a math club…) then I found myself curious about movement sensation, residuality, flow and the capacity to shift and challenge perspectives. Throughout the years I was informed from exposure and training with teachers of butoh, hip hop, Laban, somatics, and contemporary forms. (Hien)

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

This is the first collaboration between Hien and Courtney. They are exploring ideas that are sensory and somatic. They are interested in the process informing the product and building a piece that questions traditional concert dance styles.  

What are the major sources of inspiration for your choreography?

We are inspired by what is unseen and seen, what can be felt through experiencing movement.  The day to day life is an inspiration in the little things such as recognizing rhythms, patterns or feelings that are internalized.  

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

I live in two different worlds, chemistry and dance.  If I wasn’t doing either of these, I might be doing something like landscape architecture that is outdoors and would keep me busy with my hands.  (Courtney)

I dreamed once, and maybe still am, of opening a milk tea boba lounge. A place where you can sip delicious tea and speed date! If I could bake, I’d love to have a pastry or donut shop too, more of a donut boutique I’d say. Something cute, indulgent, but not too high in calories for the conscious SF soul. (Hien)

What advice would you pass on to an aspiring choreographer?

It is important to listen to intuition and play with it. Understand the paradox – diving in and inquiring deep within an idea but also to not be attached, and be willing for an idea to organically transform.

Learn more:  instagram __courtneyhope

                     Instagram __.hien