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 Denice Simpson Braga

PUSH Dance Company is proud to present choreography by Denice Simpson Braga 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 started dancing at El Cerrito High School with Jacqueline Burgess.  I studied at Laney with Caroline Himes-Tucker who took me to the audition for Dimensions Dance Theater.  I have been a member of the company since 1986. I am also the ballet instructor for the Rites of Passage Program.

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

I hope to have the audience enjoy the fusion of dance forms I have been trained in as well as share in my journey of my ode to my mom with my family.

What are the major sources of inspiration for your choreography?

I draw inspiration from my family, from my experience of studying hula and all of it’s caches coming from a cultural perspective as well as a technique and style discipline.  I draw inspiration from my co-dancers and their interpretation of the movement I’ve shared with them. And of course from my years of tutelage under Deborah Vaughan.

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

I would possibly be farther along in my “day-job” as an Administrator if I had not been blessed with the opportunity to continue to study, train and perform.  I really enjoy office work but dancing and teaching is what sustains me.

What advice would you pass on to an aspiring choreographer?

Practice your craft. Whether it be on students, co-dancers, solo work or just getting movement on your body and out of your head.  Like anything practice makes better.