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

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In Conversation with Robert Henry Johnson

PUSH Dance Company is proud to present newly commissioned choreography by Robert Henry Johnson April 27-28, 2018 for PUSHfest Spring Edition at Buriel Clay Theater in San Francisco. A San Francisco-native and longtime resident of the Fillmore/Western Addition district, Johnson speaks about his inspiration, background and aspirations for creating a new premiere for members of PUSH.

PUSH Dance Company is proud to present newly commissioned choreography by Robert Henry Johnson April 27-28, 2018 for PUSHfest Spring Edition at Buriel Clay Theater in San Francisco. A San Francisco-native and longtime resident of the Fillmore/Western Addition district, Johnson speaks about his inspiration, background and aspirations for creating a new premiere for members of PUSH.

 

Tell us a little bit about your dance background.
It’s a blood memory. Legend has it I woke up dancing on my fourth birthday. Got out of bed dancing to invisible music. I danced all day sunup to sundown non-stop. It frightened my mother because I wouldn’t stop. That’s the word. Dance was available to me in my community. It was everywhere. It informed me deeply. I embraced it against everyone’s insistence. I went on to become interested in choreography at the encouragement of Yvonne McClung at the San Francisco School of the Arts. I was also a full scholarship student at San Francisco Ballet.

What can audiences look forward to seeing in your work at PUSHfest.
Text. Spoken word. Collagism.

What are the major sources of inspiration for your choreography?
Theater. Ritual. Things African. The memory of prima ballerina Virginia Johnson’s performance in Dance Theatre of Harlem’s A Streetcar Named Desire. Novelist Toni Morrison–her quiet language, intellect and authority to unassigned herself to false constructs or space regarding her heritage and gender. Choreographer Alonzo King. Griot Geoffrey Holder. Creatist William Forsythe. I could go on and on.

If you hadn’t chosen this career, what might you have been doing in your life?
An English professor. Or a pizza delivery man. I’m serious.

What advice would you pass on to an aspiring choreographer?
See everything. Study everything. Travel. Ask questions. Choose a mentor or seven. And three more key important things: Be nice, be nice and be nice.

 

PUSH DANCE COMPANY
PUSHFEST SPRING 2018
“Ambitious” – The New Yorker
“Pushing the standard.” – SF Chronicle
“Sleek and sexy.” — SF Guardian


WHO/WHAT:

PUSH Dance Company Presents
PUSHfest Spring Dance Festival

Featuring a World Premiere by Robert Henry Johnson and work-in-progress by Raissa Simpson, and performances by PUSH Youth Program, The San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Company (BATCO), LV Dance Collective,  Visceral Roots Dance Company, Handful Players, Rising Rhythm and The Village Dancers

WHEN:

Three Performances Only!
Friday, April 27 at 8:00pm
Saturday, April 28 at 2 pm and 7:30pm

WHERE:

Buriel Clay Theater
762 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA  94102

TICKETS:

$15 in advance, $20 at the door, $10 for seniors and students with a valid I.D.
10% discount for groups of 10 or more
Tickets and Festival passes can be purchased online at https://www.pushdance.org/festival

BOX OFFICE:   415-800-7943 or www.pushdance.org/festival

MORE INFO:  www.pushdance.org

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MEDIA CONTACT: Mary Carbonara, 415-845-9994 or marycarbonara@gmail.com