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 Jamal Jackson

PUSH Dance Company is proud to present choreography by Jamal Jackson on September 20-22, 2019 for PUSHfest Program B at ODC Theater in San Francisco. Photo by Yi-Chun Wu


Tell us a little bit about your dance background.
Jamal Jackson was born in Brooklyn, New York and began his formal studies of movement with the Harlem based Batoto Yetu Dance Company. Jamal performed with Ballet International Africans for two seasons as a principal dancer and in 2004 he founded the Jamal Jackson Dance Company.

What can audiences look forward to seeing in your work at PUSHfest?
The movement and story-lines of JJDC choreography focus on redefining ideas of community and blurring divisive lines, while still celebrating the beauty of individual cultures. The solo that JJDC will present looks at the story of Norman Okello’s capture into the LRA.

What are the major sources of inspiration for your choreography?
My background comes from a study of Mande culture and movement. That traditional movement is juxtaposed with contemporary styles to investigate events that affect our social being.

If you hadn’t chosen this career, what might you have been doing in your life?
I was a science major at Brown University and thought I was going to be a marine biologist.

 What advice would you pass on to an aspiring choreographer?
Trust your artistic voice. Appreciate process and collaboration.