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 Mariana Sobral

PUSH Dance Company is proud to present choreography by Mariana Sobral on September 20-22, 2019 for PUSHfest Program D at ODC Theater in San Francisco. Photo by 123Cheese


Tell us a little bit about your dance background.
I am originally from Argentina, where I had a career as a Soloist and Principal dancer performing classical and contemporary works. I also had the opportunity to work with world-renowned choreographers like Ana Maria Stekleman, Norma Binaghi, Julio López, Oscar Aráiz, Carlos Trunsky, Ricardo Rivas, and Aldo von Landessen among others.

I believe that being exposed to diverse choreographic styles early on in my career shaped my approach to the inclusion of different movement backgrounds as a way to enrich both the audience and the dancers’ experiences, as well of celebrate and embrace diversity.

What can audiences look forward to seeing in your work at PUSHfest
By utilizing an ethereal movement style, the dancers will ease the audience into reflecting how Compassion and Acceptance have shaped us as a society.

Photo by Kyle Adler

What are the major sources of inspiration for your choreography?
I would say that music moves me the most. When I choreograph, I allow music to serve as my starting point. My work is naturally impacted by current events and I like to bring them into it as a way to create a space to reflect how these can define us as individuals and as a society. My creative process also incorporates collaborations with musicians, composers, visual artists, and other choreographers and I often include improvisation as a way to integrate and celebrate the company members’ diverse artistic voice.

If you hadn’t chosen this career, what might you have been doing in your life?
I am not sure as I genuinely believe that this career chose me! I had other careers – I am also a Social Psychologist; I have taught at a University in Buenos Aires; I have been a translator for legal and medical documents, and worked as a Forensic Psychologist running programs in the Penitentiary system in Argentina. I also taught languages here in the States, as well as being a Bookkeeper for start-up companies. However, I always stayed in contact with my creative side as a different form of expression (I used to play the Harp, and studied Drama and Set Design as well). Art is part of who I am, and Dance is the way I feel free to express beyond all barriers. If Dance was not in my life, I wouldn’t be me!

What advice would you pass on to an aspiring choreographer?
Do it! Say what you need to say, express it in your own way, find your artistic voice by truly embracing yourself. Remember that we are not for everyone, so allow yourself to take criticism as a way to learn how others see your work, as guidance, while staying true to your voice. 

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