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 Ishika Seth

PUSH Dance Company is proud to present choreography by Ishika Seth of Mona Khan Company on Wednesday October 21, 2020 LIVE at 6 PM. Photo by Sapna Reddy Photography.

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.
Trained in Indian Contemporary Dance, Jazz & Yoga while I was in India along with other folk and cultural dance form. Received my BA from SJSU specializing in Modern Dance. Currently the Assistant Artistic Director of Mona Khan Company.

What can audiences look forward to seeing in your work at PUSHfest?
This work was created in conversation with the dancers. It examines gender stereotypes, binary opposites like masculine/feminine, creation/destruction with the idea of dismantling them and echoing the individual experiences of the dancers.

What are the major sources of inspiration for your choreography? What are you curious about?
The work began with conversations about toxic masculinity, rape culture, the taboos that exist in South Asian society. This conversations & the dancers themselves really inspired this work.

Photo by Rob Fadtke (ZoArt Photography)

If you hadn’t chosen this career, what might you be doing with your life?
I would probably have been a writer or perhaps a visual artist. The arts are definitely my calling, just the medium that captivated me was dance. I think dance just chose me and that was that!

What does your work respond to or activate, within this world or within yourself?
I sometimes create art that offers an escape from reality but mostly my work engages with ideas that forms the fabric of our society. I examine these threads, sometimes winding them around in my mind, other times unraveling them.

What advice would you pass on to an aspiring choreographer?
Don’t be afraid to follow through on ideas and concepts that may feel bizarre. I have had valuable guidance from mentors but in the end you must trust your own vision & not dilute it to make it more palatable or comfortable.

Learn more:
instagram: @Ishika_dance

Ishika Seth is the Assistant Artistic Director of the Mona Khan Company, a Bay Area-based Bollywood dance company. She studied Indian Contemporary Dance, Jazz & Yoga in India and graduated with a B.A. in Dance from SJSU.  In her works, she strives to blend elements of her cultural background with her diverse training and create works that examine and dismantle social constructs and to find the intersection between art & activism.