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 Jocelyn Reyes

PUSH Dance Company is proud to present choreography by Jocelyn Reyes 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 grew up dancing traditional latin dances at church parties in Los Angeles, started modern/contemporary training in middle school, and continued my dance education at UCLA. I’ve performed in works by Cheng Chieh Yu, Ana Maria Alvarez, Shahar Binyamini, Gracie Whyte and Daiane Lopes da Silva. I began showing choreography in 2013 and moved to SF about a year ago to start my company.

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

Audiences will watch my dancers navigate a collision of worlds. They will see a fusion of modern and merengue movement vocabularies that is humorous and weird. They’ll find themselves in a place of in-betweenness, instability and suspense.

What are the major sources of inspiration for your choreography?

I pull a lot of thematic material from my experiences with Catholicism, Mexican/Salvadoran culture, domestic violence, and financial hardship. I frequently find myself connecting these themes to cognitive phenomena. From these inspirations, I create detailed gestures, floor work phrases, and momentum based movement.

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

I have a Bachelor’s in Cognitive science. I sometimes fantasize about going back to grad school, getting another cognitive science degree, and doing behavioral neuroscience research in a lab. If I were doing that now, my aim would be to one day teach cognitive science at a University.

What advice would you pass on to an aspiring choreographer?

Creating work (doing what you love) is so worth it. Apply to every residency/festival/production you are interested in and don’t sell yourself short. Create micro goals that lead you to your major goal. Make things that are honest and exciting to you. Be patient and keep working hard.

Learn more: reyesdance.com