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

#theRona Chronicles | Courtney Hope

#theRona Chronicles


Courtney Hope

photo by Stephen Texeira

#theRona Chronicles invites the performers, collaborators and staff of The Motley Experiment to reflect upon its postponement from its original March 2020 premiere to February 2021. Created in residency at Bayview Opera House, set to live music by Idris Ackamoor and the Pyramids, Raissa Simpson’s The Motley Experiment, and the collaborators who bring the project to life, are adapting and moving along with changes in the time of the COVID-19 (Corona Virus) pandemic.

What were you doing before the COVID-19 Shelter-in-Place order?

Before the shelter-in-place order had us all locked down, we were really coming together with The Motley Experiment piece. It was just starting to feel complete and I was so excited to share! Outside of PUSH rehearsals, I was job hunting, taking lots of class, and doing some work-exchange programs.

How did you feel when The Motley Experiment was postponed until February 2021?

I felt quite sad. The momentum of the process was rolling and the cast was just so amazing to work with.  I wonder what it will be like to get back into rehearsals come next year; will the momentum pick up just like nothing ever happened? Will the whole cast be available to join? It feels so unknown to end mid-process and see what the final result will be so far down the line.  

How are you practicing your craft during the pandemic?

I am doing a few things; I am participating in many IG live/Zoom classes (dance/pilates/gyrokenesis) led by people in the Bay Area community and also nation and world-wide! It is really inspiring to me to see how the moving world has come together to support each other during this time. ALSO, fellow PUSH company member, JP, developed a workout specific to my body, so although it is really hard to self motivate to do this workout, it feels really amazing to do and to know that I had the mental and physical stamina to PUSH myself through it. 

I am also working on a virtual project with Sarah Bush Dance Project called Six Foot Wing Span. We have no idea when or what the end result will look like, but it is not stopping us from moving and creating, individually and together via Zoom.

What do you look forward to doing with The Motley Experiment when the order is lifted?

I look forward to seeing how it all comes together and performing it, especially with the live band!

What is a current grounding practice you are using right now?

My grounding practice now is no different than usual. I spend as much time outside as I possibly can.  Watching the clouds, trees and birds, gardening, reading, painting.  Any activity really is a lot more grounding for me if I am outside, especially on a sunny day.  I am extremely grateful to have some backyard space that allows me to stay home and be outside.

Courtney Hope is a Bay Area based freelance movement artist. She has trained in ballet, jazz, multiple forms of contemporary and hip-hop, her heart currently lies in finding her groove and work in contemporary.  You can find her in the studio with these artists past and present; Fullstop, PUSH, Sarah Bush Dance Project, Soulskin dance and David Herrera Performance Company. Courtney is also the co-founder along with Rose Huey and Nina Wu of the creative collective rag-bag.

Courtney is educated in chemistry and criminal justice (University of San Francisco) and has spent time as a laboratory technician and analyst in the cannabis testing field. She has been featured in the San Francisco Chronicle for her duality as a scientist and artist. She is an amateur photographer interested in capturing candid moments with her old film camera.

To learn more about PUSH Dance Company’s response to COVID-19, and how you can support our Artists, Teachers, and Outreach program, read our statement here.