PUSH Dance Company Announces Schedule of Events, Particpants for PUSHfest, 9/18

San Francisco, CA, June 17, 2015 - New and recent works by PUSH Dance Company and leading mid-career and emerging dance artists from the Bay Area and beyond will be featured during PUSHfest 2015, presented by PUSH Dance Company, a San Francisco-based contemporary dance company, founded by artistic Director Raissa Simpson. PUSHfest is a mixed-genre dance festival that showcases the work of mid-career and emerging choreographers alongside the PUSH Company at San Francisco's ODC Theater (3153 17th Street) on September 18-20, 2015. Program A will be performed on Friday, September 18, at 8pm and Sunday, September 20, at 4pm. Program B will be performed on Saturday, September 19, at 8pm and Sunday, September 20, at 7pm. www.pushdance.org/festival.

PUSHfest honors diversity in dance, and audiences have the opportunity to experience distinct perspectives on dance at one of the Bay Area's leading performance venues. The Festival comprises two programs featuring choreography by artists currently active in different disciplines of dance including modern, ballet, hip-hop, ethnic, and multi-disciplinary. PUSHfest 2015 artists include local luminaries Martha L. Zepeda and Nina Haft, Izzie recipient Lindsey Renee Derry and contemporary Bharatanatyam company, Nava Dance Theater. Special guest artists include New York-based Thomas/Ortiz Dance, performing choreography by Frances Ortiz and Ted Thomas, a former dancer with the Paul Taylor Dance Company.

PUSHfest marks PUSH Dance Company's 10th Anniversary home season, for which the Company will premiere Raissa Simpson's Disequilibria, commissioned by the African American Art & Culture Complex and UC Davis' Institute for Exploration in Dance, Theatre, and Performance; as well as a yet untitled new work by resident choreographer Katerina Wong.

Tickets for PUSHfest 2015 are priced at $28 in advance, $30 at the door, $15 for seniors and students, or $50 for a Festival Pass that includes both programs. Tickets and Festival Passes may be purchased online at http://odcdance.org/buytickets.php. Visit www.pushdance.org/festival for more information.

About Raissa Simpson and PUSH Dance Company

Raissa Simpson's PUSH Dance Company builds vibrant contemporary dances to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges attributed to mixed heritage. After receiving her BFA from the Conservatory of Dance at SUNY Purchase, Simpson had an extensive performance career in the San Francisco Bay Area dancing with Robert Moses' Kin and Joanna Haigood's Zaccho Dance Theatre, among others. Hailed by Dance Spirit magazine as "Reflective Contemporary Choreography," PUSH's repertoire has been presented at the Ferst Center for the Arts at Georgia Tech, Sacramento State University's Visiting Scholar Program, San Francisco State University, Washington Ensemble Theater, Evolve Dance Festival in NY, Los Angeles Theater Center, Black Choreographers Festival, Renberg Theater and many more. Village Voice dance critic Deborah Jowitt noted, "Simpson dances big." An avid performer, Simpson's work has been supported through residencies - Margaret Jenkin's CHIME, The Garage Artspace, Zaccho Dance Theatre; and awards - San Jose State University'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 Choreographer of the Year 2012, The Kenneth Rainin Foundation, and the Magrit Mondavi Award.

PUSH Dance Company's 2015 season is generously supported by the African American Art & Culture Complex/Wattis Foundation, Zellerbach Family Foundation, and individual donors.

Program A: Friday September 18, 8pm & Sunday September 20, 4pm

Raissa Simpson, PUSH Dance Company

Nadhi Thekkek, Nava Dance Theater

Lindsey Renee Derry, L i n s d a n s

Nina Haft, Nina Haft & Company

Luis Valverde, Valverde Dance Company

Elizabeth Shea, Elizabeth Shea Dance

Martha Zepeda, LV Dance Collective

Nhan Ho, Nhan Ho Project

Ted Thomas & Frances Ortiz, Thomas/Ortiz Dance (special guests)

Nadhi Thekkek founded Nava Dance Theatre (NDT) with co-artistic director/choreographer Sophia Valath in 2012 as a Bharatanatyam dance company which uses the classical South Indian dance form as a medium for artistic discovery. Bharatanatyam traditionally focuses on Hindu mythology; however Nava Dance Theatre often uses the art form to reflect on contemporary themes. Their work is inspired by the concept of ritual, tradition, and obligation. It explores these ideas through the sanctification of the space. The work Banishment is part of a larger production, The Cloud Messenger, developed with the support of CounterPulse Performing Diaspora Program, Theatre Bay Area CA$H Grant, Zellerbach Family Foundation, Center for Cultural Innovation and Dancers' Group.

Lindsey Renee Derry launched L i n s d a n s in 2012 to serve as a platform for her solo work. A graduate of Purchase College Conservatory of Dance with a BFA in Dance Performance, she has toured internationally as a solo performer with engagements in North America, Europe, and Asia. She has worked with RIOULT and TAKE Dance in New York, with Compagnie Flak in Montreal, and with KUNST-STOFF Dance Company and Hope Mohr Dance in San Francisco. Most recently, with support from American Dance Abroad, Derry's solo show, POR·TRAI·TURE, was presented at the Stoffwechsel-Metabolism Festival in Berlin. Earlier this year, she received an Isadora Duncan Dance Award for her performance in POR·TRAI·TURE.

Nina Otis Haft is Artistic Director of Nina Haft & Company, a Bay Area-based contemporary dance ensemble known for works of gender and cultural commentary and site-specific performance. Nina's work has been profiled in Dance Magazine and has received support from the Djerassi Resident Artist Program, Hambidge Center for Arts and Science, Shawl-Anderson Dance Center, Margaret Jenkins' Dance Company (CHIME), Conney Project on Jewish Arts (UW-Madison), California Arts Council, and numerous private and public arts foundations. Nina Haft & Company is also known for the Dance in Unexpected Places Series, offering performances in non-traditional spaces. Nina has presented her work in Boston, Chicago, LA, Milwaukee, NYC, Portland, San Diego, Novosibirsk (Siberia), Amman, Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Ramallah.

Luis Valverde is a choreographer, musician, dancer and researcher of Andean Art. Prior to moving to San Francisco in 2000, he was member of the Centro de Folklore of the Universidad Mayor de San Marcos and taught at the Center for Peruvian Music Research. His work has been presented at the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival and the American College Dance Festival. He was selected to participate in the Regional Dance Development Initiative of NEFA's National Dance Project and was also a panelist at the 2006 Dance/USA National Round Table. He has been a guest performer with several renowned South American ensembles and currently directs the Andean ensemble Colectivo Anqari and his own Valverde Dance Company.

Elizabeth Shea has received numerous grants and commissions to create contemporary dance works and has taught at many venues nationally and internationally. Her choreography has been produced by the American Dance Guild, DUMBO Dance Festival, Boston Contemporary Dance Festival, the Midwest Alternative Regional Dance Festival, World Dance Alliance, the American College Dance Festival, Regional Dance America, and the International Computer Music Association for the 13th Bi-Annual Symposium in Arts and Technology. Liz's newest work, Minor Bodies, was shown at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., as part of the National College Dance Festival. Liz has served as a guest artist for Dance Kaleidoscope, Eisenhower Dance and the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance in Israel.

Martha L. Zepeda earned her MFA in dance from UC-Irvine and a BA in dance from SFSU. She is Co-Artistic Director/Co-Founder/Co-Choreographer of LV Dance Collective and the Cultural Arts Program Director at the East Oakland Sports Center. She is also the Founder and Artistic Director of the EOSC Introductory School of Dance and EOSC Performance Group. A long distance runner and former collegiate swimmer, Martha is a certified Zumba, Ballet Barre, Water Fitness, and Spinning instructor. She has served on the dance faculty at several colleges and universities and has performed and taught at venues in Chile, Vietnam, Spain, and Ghana. She was awarded the sjDANCEco's ChoreoProject Award for Best Choreography for Size 9 in 2014.

Nhan Ho, the Artistic Director and Choreographer of Nhan Ho Project, created the company to provide a platform for established and emerging artists to share the same stage, as well as to create a new language of dance.. NHP's work is pure and raw with a twist of strangeness and curiosity. Founded in 2010, the company has performed at many different venues including the West Wave Dance Festival at ODC (San Francisco), Resident Artist Workshop of The Garage (San Francisco), San Jose State University's Dance Theatre, Modesto Junior College's Dance Theatre and Dance Art Music Style Fashion (San Francisco).

Program B: Saturday September 18, 8pm & Sunday September 20, 7pm

Katerina Wong, PUSH Dance Company (resident choreographer)

Joyce Lien Kushner

Ayana Yonesaka

Marika Brussel

Peter Cheng, Peter & Company

Philip Flickinger & Lorelei Bayne, D.I.G.

Adrianna Thompson, SOULSKIN Dance

Ted Thomas & Frances Ortiz, Thomas/Ortiz Dance (special guests)

Katerina Wong has performed and presented work in New York, San Francisco and Beijing. She graduated cum laude with a degree in anthropology, East Asian studies and dance from Princeton University, where she was a soloist in pieces by Camille A. Brown, Susan Marshall, Mark Morris and Twyla Tharp. In San Francisco, she has choreographed dance-theatre works with Brickabrack, one of which was awarded Best of SF Fringe Festival. She premiered UNMUTED...evidence that we existed at the West Wave Dance Festival at Z Space. She has performed with Bianca Cabrera, Ronnie Reddick, Anne-rene Petrarca, Dexandro Montalvo and Ziru Productions and currently dances with RAWdance, LEVYdance, Printz Dance Project, Concept o4 and Rarefied Bear. Katie is the Resident Choreographer for PUSH.

Joyce Lien Kushner is a dance instructor at OMpower Yoga Studio in San Francisco and a member of Kirstin Williams' Strong Pulse Dance Company. Prior to coming to the Bay Area from Los Angeles, Joyce was a member of Modern City Repertoire Dance Company for eight years and taught contemporary dance at California Dance Center. Her work has been presented in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Diego.

Ayana Yonesaka has been an active dancer and choreographer in San Francisco since 2009. She moved to the Bay Area after studying modern dance in her hometown of Sapporo, Japan for twelve years. After graduating in 2013 with a degree in dance from SFSU, she is now an instructor at the San Francisco Youth Ballet Academy while creating and developing new works.

Marika Brussel is a San Francisco-based choreographer and teacher. She was born in New York City, and trained as a scholarship student at the Joffrey Ballet School. She danced with numerous ballet companies, including Ballet Theater of New Mexico, Napoles Ballet Theatre and Joffrey Concert Group. Her work has been performed by Emote Dance Theater, Bay Pointe Ballet, Berkeley Ballet Theater, Ballet Theater of New Mexico and at Regional Dance America's Choreography Intensive. Lyrical, edgy and narrative, her ballets have also been shown at dance festivals around the country, including West Wave 23, SPF 7 and at Spectordance.

Peter Cheng launched his solo dance project in 2014, presenting site specific short improvisations in public spaces - from the Santa Barbara County Courthouse to Cupid's Span in San Francisco, and as far east as the Cleveland Museum of Art. These improvisations were documented on YouTube as 30-second to 3-minute video clips. In May 2014 five dancers were brought together to create a new work, Off the Cuff,combining site specific phrases previously captured on camera in a studio setting. Thus, Peter & Company was born. The project-based company is in residence at SAFEhouse Arts and has presented work at ODC's Take 5, The Garage/Resident Artists Workshop, sjDANCEco's ChoreoProjects, and Gnosis Dance's "Dance for Another Day" benefit concert.

Lorelei Bayne & Philip Flickinger Dancers Investigation Group (D.I.G.), founded by Co-Artistic Directors Lorelei Bayne and Philip Flickinger, is a Sacramento-based dance theatre company committed to fostering original dance-based performance works and to supporting the growing dance community in Sacramento with Rehearsal Director Danielle L.M.Johnson. Lorelei Bayne's work has been presented nationally at DanceNOW Festival, Dumbo Dance Festival, Women Center Stage Festival, Florida Dance Festival, Tampa Museum of Art, Crocker Art Museum and the San Francisco Fringe Festival. Philip Flickinger holds a BA from Gustavus Adolphus College in sociology/anthropology and dance and an MFA in dance, choreography and performance from the University of Colorado Boulder. He danced professionally with Diavolo Dance Theater in Los Angeles.

Adrianna Thompson Adrianna is the founder and director of SOULSKIN Dance in the Bay Area and the Dance Director for the Aspen Fringe Festival. A California native, Thompson attended the San Francisco School of the Arts and received her BFA in Dance from California State University, Long Beach. She was a professional dancer in New York City for over 15 years with Battery Dance Company, Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company and Mark DeGarmo & Dancers. Thompson founded MEFTAS Dance Theatre in New York where her choreography was presented at Joyce SoHo, the Cunningham Studio, The Riverside Theatre, Mulberry Street Theater, the Downtown Arts Festival, Trisha Brown Studios, Movement Research, Theater for the New City and Dance Space.

About Guest Company Thomas/Ortiz Dance

Melding his urban athleticism with her Latin sensuality, and combining their choreographic and musical sensibilities, Ted Thomas and Frances Ortiz founded Thomas/Ortiz Dance in New York in 2001. The company of twelve dancers from culturally diverse backgrounds performs a repertoire that explores a multitude of thought-provoking and socially-relevant themes. After making its debut at The Bronx Academy of Art and Dance, Thomas/Ortiz Dance has since performed at Joyce SoHo, Dance Theater Workshop, the Merce Cunningham Studios, Alvin Ailey Citigroup Theater and Dance New Amsterdam (NY); the Clune Center for the Arts (CT) and the DeBaun Center for the Performing Arts (NJ). They have performed as part of Broadway Cares, Dancing at the Crossroads Time Square, American Dance Guild Festival, Dance New York Festival, the Master Dance Series, Orlando (FL) and the Latin Choreographers Festival. Ted and Frances were commissioned to create a work for the Connecticut Ballet, resulting in Corelli, which premiered at the Katherine Hepburn Theater in 2010.

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