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 Julie Crothers

PUSH Dance Company is proud to present choreography by Julie Crothers on September 20-22, 2019 for PUSHfest Program A at ODC Theater in San Francisco. Photo by David DeSilva


Tell us a little bit about your dance background.
I grew up dancing in Tennessee and North Carolina, and moved to the Bay Area in 2014. I danced with AXIS Dance Company for 3 years and have also done projects with Sarah Bush Dance Project, Tara Pilbrow Dance, and Kickbal.

What can audiences look forward to seeing in your work at PUSHfest
Audiences can look forward to a monochromatic purple outfit, a very realistic looking prosthetic arm, and having their minds tricked as I blur the lines between what is real and what is artificial.

Photo by David DeSilva

What are the major sources of inspiration for your choreography
Much of my work is rooted in autobiographical experience. I am also inspired by text and very much enjoy working with props. As a 1.5 armed dancer, I rarely wear a prosthetic arm anymore, but all the movement in this piece was generated while wearing an arm. In this process I found my typical movement vocabulary to be limited by having two arms. This limitation was frustrating at first but ultimately lent itself to more interesting choices and provided me with a familiar but new experience of my body.

If you hadn’t chosen this career, what might you have been doing in your life?
When I was a kid I always wanted to be a mailwoman, an architect, or a hair-cutter, so maybe that.

What advice would you pass on to an aspiring choreographer?
Don’t try to create and edit at the same time.

Learn more: www.juliecrothers.com, @jcro5