Raissa Simpson’s PUSH Dance Company Builds Vibrant Contemporary Dances To Gain A Deeper Understanding Of The Challenges Attributed To Mixed Heritage.

  • Embodied Racial Equity Workshops [LINK IN BIO]

The @CalArtsCouncil is offering free online public workshops intended to advance racial equity within the state’s arts and cultural field throughout the month of November. This three-part workshop series was co-created through a partnership with the Bay Area’s @PUSHDance and @DancingAroundRace as part of a pilot project supported by the Government Alliance on Race & Equity’s Innovation and Implementation Fund.

✳️ Thursday, November 3 | How to Begin Addressing the Impacts of Systemic Racism
✳️ Sunday, November 6 | Decentering Whiteness in Education
✳️ Thursday, November 10 | Economics of Race: Intention, Impact, and Consequences
  • CONSTRUCTION starts this week!!!

We’re building a new dance sanctuary in SF and looking for someone to join our operations team! Apply today! [LINK IN BIO]

As we move into the prospect of operating our own dance studio, we need a dedicated Operations Coordinator (PT) who brings sustainable program & project coordination, non-profit administration, payroll and budgeting practices to our growing arts organization. You will manage and train our team allowing us to thrive in a creative and positive environment. You will help steward the coordination and growth of our programs. You help shepard the programming to our stakeholders and the general public. This job is onsite 4-5 days a week with occasional evenings and weekend events.
  • PUSH Forward Round 4 is taking applications—previous applicants and recipients welcome to apply! [link in bio]

PUSH Forward supports dancers, choreographers, teachers, and administrators whose work is based in the exploration and expression of the African diaspora in the San Francisco Bay Area. This small relief fund centers “Recovery” and, for this round, will be distributing funds of $500 to 10 selected individuals and organizations.

Applicants from the nine SF Bay Area counties are welcome to apply:  Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma.

Applications due October 18, head to the link in our bio for more information and to apply today!
[💃: Lydia Clinton
📸: Robbie Sweeney
Image Description: A dancer in black tank top and leggings is centered, with green and yellow concentric circles behind her and around her head. She has one leg raised high behind her, bent at the knee with toes curled. By her raised foot are stars. The image contains lime green and black text. 
Text reads:

SEPT 5 - OCT 17

#p4c #pushdance #relieffund #dancemaker
  • We are so thrilled to announce our 4th round of PUSH Forward—open now through October 18! [link in bio]

With the ability to grant 10 black dance makers/orgs/administrators $500 in relief funds, we encourage both prior and new applicants to partake in our very simple application process. For this round, we are centering RECOVERY, prioritizing individuals and organizations who have been impacted by the current health crises.

For more information on what you'll need and what this is, the link above takes you to our P4C page—complete with application
We cannot wait to receive your applications! Should you have any questions, please reach out to our Program Coordinator, Sean Gonzalez at office[@]pushdance.org
[📸: @robbiesweeny 
Image Description: A man wearing a black and white block jacket with the zipper halfway down his torso. He holds his hands before him angularly, with one palm facing up and the other palm facing the viewer. Arching over and below his upper hand is his afro, short facial hair along his jaw and upper lip, with brown eyes peeking from behind the hands. Behind him is a red background, with concentric circles in varying shades of red surrounding his image. The lower portion on either side of him features yellow text, as well as on his front-facing palm surrounded by more concentric circles, and the very bottom of the image. Text reads:



#pushdance #p4c #relieffund
  • The HART Application ends TODAY!
Thursday, Sept 1st [link in bio]

This is your opportunity to create and perform your own music, dance and visual art/film. All musicians, dancers, visual and interdisciplinary hip hop artists who identify as Black/African American are welcome to apply. Apply now!

#hiphop #residency #socialjustice #application
HART is a collaborative partnership between Zaccho Dance Theatre and PUSH Dance Company, funded by the City of San Francisco’s Dream Keeper Initiative.

❤️‍🔥Contact erik@pushdance.org for questions
📷: @deekshaphotographs
DEADLINE EXTENDED: [link in bio]
Apply for HART until Thursday, SEPT 1ST, 2022 

All musicians, dancers, visual and interdisciplinary hip hop artists who identify as Black/African American are welcome to apply. https://pushdance.org/hart

HART resident artists will receive:
◉ A stipend of $2000
◉ Access to a dance/recording studio
◉ Mentorship and Workshops
◉ Social Media skill building

#hiphop #residency #socialjustice #application
❤️‍🔥Contact erik@pushdance.org for questions
HART is a collaborative partnership between @zacchosf and PUSH Dance Company, funded by the City of San Francisco’s @dreamkeepersf

Film: What is HART? by @pushdance
  • Hip Hop Workout with Angel
1pm-2pm  at 5M Park [FREE]

This is a fun class for all levels and everybody who wants to move their bodies. Hope to see you there!

Where's 5M Park? It's right next to 447 Minna Street, our future home. 
#hiphopworkout #dance #sfdance #outdoors
  • As summer slowly comes to a close, we have some happy Back-to-School news. Our artistic director Raissa Simpson joins the full-time faculty of the Stanford University TAPS dept.! 

Join us in congratulating Raissa on her latest journey. She'll still be our director of course and you can see her latest work in the winter! ❤️‍🩹
#dancejourney #stanfordtaps #werk

📷: Scott Horton
  • What a joy to witness all the magic of Ashley Gayle as she made her debut as Associate Artistic Director with her new dance piece, "Ascension!" And, thank you for everyone who came out to support our performance at Choreofest last Saturday.

📷: Amal Bisharat Photography



Portraits by Scott Horton

I make performances that are about personal stories that oftentimes remain unseen or unheard. These stories are lived experiences, oral histories, how we navigate this world and more.



When Houseguests Become Songbirds
in Collective Matters on Dance and Other Body Modifications
published in In Dance, 2022. https://bit.ly/songbirdssing


Writings on Dance: Artistic Reframing for Celestial Black Bodies
in Critical Black Futures Speculative Theories and Explorations
published in Palgrave Macmillan, 2021, pg 93-111


Spatial Politics
Dancing Around Race Zine, Edition 1
published in Hope Mohr Dance, 2019. https://bit.ly/spatialpo

Photo by Matt Haber

Movement is inherently bold, it puts us in dialogue with our sense of self and our relationship to others, it lays bare our questions of the unknown.

I choreograph liberatory power and I believe in bringing Art to the People.

Raissa Simpson

Raissa Simpson (she/her) is a scholar and an interdisciplinary artist whose award-winning choreography is at the intersection of racial and cultural identities and centers around discourse on the complex experiences of racialized bodies. She holds mixed heritage by way of African-descended sharecroppers from Mississippi and as a daughter of an immigrant from the Philippines. She founded PUSH to examine the body as a site for racial discourse and since then has toured and performed in over 50 venues.

Her dances have been presented at Aspen Fringe Festival, Joyce SoHo, Dance St. Louis, Ferst Center, Evolve Dance Festival, Los Angeles Women’s Theater Festival, Links Hall, Black Choreographers Festival and many others. She has held residencies at Dance Initiative Carbondale, Bayview Opera House, Sacramento State Univ. Margaret Jenkins Chime, CounterPulse and has collaborated with such distinguished artists as Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids.

As an educator she has served on such faculties as Stanford University, San Jose State and UC Davis; and as guest with ACT, Santa Clara University, Sacramento State, SF State, Alonzo King Lines Dance Center, Georgia Tech, San Jose Dance Theatre, Marin School, and many others. In 2008, she founded the school which is now known as PUSH Conservatory. 

Raissa has had the privilege to mentor and train the next generation of artists in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is an active participant of Dancing Around Race, “a cohort of artists that presents a spectrum of aesthetic perspectives, creating conditions for BIPOC artists and communities to thrive, while confronting systemic racism.”

She regularly participates in advocacy by the African American Theater Alliance for Independence (AATAIN), a consortium of San Francisco-based African American arts organizations that create work deeply rooted in the Black experience. Her collaborations include working with such artists as GG Torres, UNWOMAN and Miles Lassi, among others.

Raissa began her training at Glenna Bell Moening’s Dance Art Studio and later continued on to San Jose Dance Theatre. She received a Regional Dance America award to study at Iowa University and later went on to attend the schools of Cleveland Ballet, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, and the Paul Taylor School.  She received her BFA from SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance.

Her works have been honored with awards from the Magrit Mondavi Award, Choreoproject, San Francisco Arts Commission, Zellerbach Family Foundation, San Francisco Foundation, Kenneth Rainin Foundation, Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation, Fleishhacker Foundation, Grants for the Arts and the Dream Keeper Initiative. Prior to her tenure at PUSH, Simpson had an extensive performance career in San Francisco with Robert Moses Kin and Joanna Haigood’s Zaccho Dance Theatre..

Throughout her career, Simpson’s pieces do not reside merely on stage — but 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 aspects of creative technology. Village Voice dance critic Deborah Jowitt notes, “Simpson dances big.”