Raissa Simpson is an interdisciplinary artist best known for her choreography and social activism in San Francisco. She founded PUSH Dance Company to instill her deep interest in little known or untold stories seen in the public eye. Hailed by Dance Spirit Magazine as “Reflective Contemporary Choreography,” Simpson has presented her works in over 50 venues across the United States. Recent highlights include Dance St. Louis’ Spring to Dance, Links Hall in Chicago, Ferst Center for the Arts at Georgia Tech, Joyce SoHo/NYC, Washington Ensemble Theater, Evolve Dance Festival/New York, Los Angeles Theater Center, and Black Choreographers Festival.
Simpson’s guest teaching includes ACT, Santa Clara University, UC Davis, Sacramento State, Stanford University, SF State University, Alonzo King Lines Dance Center, Ferst Presents, San Jose Dance Theatre, Marin School, and many others.
Throughout her career, Simpson’s pieces do not reside merely on stage—they are also site-specific installations in public spaces like museums and city centers. Her work is sweeping, vibrant, multi-layered, and socially relevant often involving multiple aspects such as video projection, live music, and cutting-edge choreography. Her works have been honored with awards & funding from the California Art Council, Magrit Mondavi Award, Margaret Jenkin’s CHIME, Choreo-Project’s People’s Choice Award, San Francisco Arts Commission, Zellerbach Family Foundation, CA$H, Dancers Group Lighting in Dance Award, San Francisco Foundation, BADw’s 2012 Choreographer of the Year, ODC Theater’s Fleishhacker Opportunity Fund, The Kenneth Rainin Foundation, Grants for the Arts, and the African American Theater Alliance for Independence or AATAIN.
Simpson danced with a variety of dance companies and had an extensive performance career with Robert Moses Kin and Joanna Haigood’s Zaccho Dance Theatre. Village Voice dance critic Deborah Jowitt notes, “Simpson dances big.”