PUSH Dance Company Launches PUSHFEST, 9/19-21

PUSH Dance Company, under the direction of Raissa Simpson, announces the inaugural season of PUSHfest: a cross-genre (modern, ballet, hip-hop, ethnic, and multi-disciplinary) dance festival that situates 14 mid-career and emerging choreographers in two different programs at ODC Theater, 3153 17th Street, San Francisco, September 19-21, 2014. Tickets for the 2014 PUSHfestDance Festival are priced $30 general admission, $28 advance, $25 SeniorStudent, $50 festival pass for both programs, and may be purchased at http://odcdance.org/buytickets.php or visit www.pushdance.org for more information about PUSHfest or PUSH Dance Company.

The festival's intrigue is to mix a diverse and culturally relevant entity that is carefully curated by a professional panel made up of artists and presenters. Part of the success of PUSH is its commitment to building community and engaging diverse audiences from different walks of life. The lineup includes well-known Bay Area choreographers Randee Paufve and Hope Mohr; and traveling artists range from Los Angeles based Project 21 Dance to Kansas City based choreographer Chadi El-Khoury. Artistic Director Raissa Simpson will restage the audience favorite Point Shipyard Point, a dance installation which premiered this past spring at the Museum of the African Diaspora. PUSH will also premiere a new work by Resident Choreographer Katerina Wong, who will make her debut as choreographer for the company.

PUSH Dance Company's 2014 season is generously supported by the San Francisco Arts Commission, Zellerbach Family Foundation, and ODC Theaters' Fleishhacker Opportunity Fund.

Program A: 8pm Fri Sept 19th & 4pm Sun Sept 21st

Raissa Simpson

Randee Paufve

Anandha Ray

Natasha Adorlee Johnson

Martha Zepeda

Sarah Bush (Friday only)

RANDEE PAUFVE Known for creating exquisitely detailed, emotionally layered, movement-driven dances, Randee Paufve has established a unique choreography and performance voice in the Bay Area and beyond over the last 20 years. Paufve Dance works have been nominated for multiple Izzy Awards, supported by foundation grants and residencies in California, Oregon, Wyoming and Hawaii, and commissioned by numerous west coast universities and performance festivals including On the Boards/Seattle, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, and San Francisco's West Wave Festival. Randee holds an MA in dance from SUNY Brockport and an MFA from UC Davis, and has taught at the University of San Francisco, Lewis & Clark College, and California State Universities East Bay and Sacramento. A popular master teacher and guest artist, she currently teaches at Shawl-Anderson Dance Center, Marin Academy and UC Davis, and has recently joined the faculty of the newly founded MFA program at Saint Mary's College of California.

ANANDHA RAY After an award-winning, 30-year career in modern dance, Anandha Ray is re-emerging as a fusion choreographer synthesizing the disparate worlds of ethnic forms into modern/contemporary dance. For Ray, the synthesis of contrasting forms provides a fresh forum for exploration and understanding of the unmistakable beauty of darkness and the honesty of our humanness. Ray has received standing ovations in seven countries, many from sold our crowds. For her contributions in dance she has been inducted into the Women's Hall of Fame and as an honorary Kentucky Colonel, and has received commendations from the US Senate and the CA Assembly, among many other awards and distinctions. www.tribalsecrets.net

NATASHA ADORLEE JOHNSON C-o4, founded and directed by Natasha Adorlee Johnson, aims to expose dance, movement, art, stories, and media that is relatable and accessible to all audiences. The group is infused with elements of everyday life, urban culture, technical dance precision, and most importantly, original content that can be accessed through mediums that can be enjoyed instantly most often through film and photography. Co4 aims to connect with people and share their perspective on what it is to be alive and surviving in the present day and do so through movement and the creation of art.

MARTHA ZEPEDA LV Dance Collective is a Contemporary Fusion performance company, located in the Bay Area under the Artistic Direction of KAO VEY SAEPHANH and MARTHA L. ZEPEDA. Recently, LVDC was awarded the 2014 ChoreoProject Award for Best Choreography by sfDANCEco for their work, "Quest For Truth." LVDC was founded in January 2013, with several projects, beginning in 2006, pre-dating the official launch. www.LVDanceCollective.com

SARAH BUSH (FRIDAY EVENING ONLY) A contemporary dance company, Sarah Bush Dance Project works at making the art of dance accessible by performing in locations as diverse as the company's style--from parks, nightclubs and churches to traditional theater environment. A constant through SBDP's work is the expression, emotion, and humanity in the dancers' performance quality. The company explores issues of identity, gender, and sexuality within the broader themes of love, relationships, loss, power and empowerment.

Program B: 8pm Sat Sept 20th & 7pm Sun Sept 21st

Katerina Wong

Hope Mohr (Sunday evening only)

Chadi El-Khoury

Tanya Chianese

Ashley Gayle

Maura Townsend

Jamie Wright

Jetta Martin

KATERINA WONG is a dancer and choreographer who relocated to the Bay Area by way of New Jersey, New York and Beijing. Katie graduated cum laude from Princeton University with a B.A. in Anthropology, East Asian Studies and Dance. There she performed works by Camille A. Brown, Zvi Gotheiner, Susan Marshall, Mark Morris and Twyla Tharp. After graduation, Katie moved to Beijing as a teaching fellow where she trained with Beijing LDTX/Modern Dance Company, choreographed for the Future Dance Ensemble of Peking University and launched a series of dance workshops for Migrant Children's Foundation. She has also choreographed for Brickabrack, which was awarded Best of SF Fringe Festival. She has danced with Bianca Cabrera, Cera Byer, Ronnie Reddick, Louis Acquisto, Anne-rene Petrarca, Philein/Ziru Productions, and Danse Lumiere. She currently dances with Printz Dance Project, Concept o4 and Dexandro Montalvo is so honored to be both a dancer and a resident choreographer with PUSH this season.

HOPE MOHR (SUNDAY EVENING ONLY) founded Hope Mohr Dance in 2007 after performing in the companies of a number of pioneers of modern dance, including Trisha Brown, Lucinda Childs, and Margaret Jenkins. She trained at San Francisco Ballet School and on scholarship at the Merce Cunningham and Trisha Brown Studios in New York. Mohr is an artist in residence at ODC Theater. She has also been in residence at Montalvo Arts Center and Jennifer Monson's Interdisciplinary Laboratory for Art, Nature and Dance. She is currently a participant in Choreographers in Mentorship Exchange Across Borders, a program of the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company, with mentor Dana Reitz. She was a 2009 CHIME participant with mentor Molissa Fenley. In 2005 she assisted Lucinda Childs in the premiere of Dr. Atomic for S.F. Opera. Mohr and poet Brenda Hillman were nominated for an Isadora Duncan Dance Award for their text for Mohr's Far From Perfect (2010).

CHADI EL-KHOURY Originally from Beirut Lebanon, Chadi El-Khoury spent his formative years in Dallas, Texas. He began studying ballet his senior year at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. Chadi graduated in 2010 with a B.A. in Theology and Sociology, minoring in Applied Research Methods before pursuing a BFA at University of Missouri, Kansas City, Conservatory of Music and Dance. He then spent the summer of 2010 and 2011 at Kansas City Ballet Summer Intensive, and attended American Dance Festival in 2012 on scholarship. Currently, Chadi is a Performing Artist through Charlotte Street Foundation's Urban Culture Project Studio Residency. To learn more about him and his work, visit www.Chadodanse.com

TANYA CHIANESE (ka·nei·see) | collective is a San Francisco Bay Area based performing arts ensemble directed by Tanya Chianese. The company creates vitalizing, accessible contemporary movement art that employs knowledge of our humanity's historical, cultural, and instinctual need to dance. As society shifts to a more technological existence, ka·nei·see | collective strives to remind us of the importance of celebrating the living, breathing, aesthetic, tactile moments of life. For more information, visit us at facebook.com/ka.nei.see.

ASHLEY GAYLE Born and raised in the Bay Area, Ashley graduated from University of California, Irvine with a B.F.A. in Dance-Performance and a Business Management Minor in 2012. A novice choreographer, Ashley produced 3 pieces performed at UCI. She has performed with Soulcletic Roots Dance Company led by Jannet Galdamez and recently relocated back to the Bay Area where she studies and performs with the Alayo Dance Company under the direction of Ramon Alayo. Between training and performing, Ashley enjoys teaching dance classes throughout the Bay Area and recently performed with PUSH Dance Company led by Raissa Simpson.

MAURA TOWNSEND Maura's choreography is an eclectic blend of Horton influenced and contemporary Modern, Ballet, Lyrical, Jazz and West African dance. She is an alumnus of Lula Washington Dance Theater and has performed with such dance companies as Jazzantiqua Dance and Music Ensemble, Karen McDonald's New Age Dance Workshop, Winifred R. Harris' Between Lines and has performed with such productions as the Norwegian Caribbean Cruise Lines. www.project21dance.org

JAMIE WRIGHT Jamie Wright is a former musician, a graduate from Stanford University with a BA in Economics and the University of San Francisco with an MBA in Marketing. His work has been presented throughout the San Francisco Bay Area at the Black Choreographers Festival/Here and Now, where his choreography opened the 2009 season. In 24 Views and the Pilot Program at ODC Theater, Collaborations! Dance: Music at the Cowell Theater and in four annual seasons at Dance Mission. He has been commissioned to create works for And Still Dancing and the Opera Frontiers.

JETTA MARTIN After graduating from Harvard University, Jetta has performed professionally with Oakland Ballet, Zaccho Dance Theatre, Push Dance Company, Ruth Botchan Dance Company, and the Natasha Carlitz Dance Ensemble, among others. Performance credits include Joyce Soho, ODC, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, MFDP's Dancing in the Park, and the Egyptian Modern Dance Festival in Cairo. Her choreography has been featured on both coasts and has been commissioned by the Black Choreographer's Festival, Dance Mission Theater, Museum of the African Diaspora, and Stapleton School of Ballet.

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 notes, "Simpson dances big." An avid performer, Raissa Simpson's works have been supported through residencies by Margaret Jenkin's CHIME, The Garage Artspace, Zaccho Dance Theatre; and, through awards by 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, and The Kenneth Rainin Foundation.

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