PUSH Dance Company Presents POINT SHIPYARD PROJECT at MoAD This Weekend

By: Mar. 29, 2014

The complexities of the ongoing and historic cleanup of the toxic Hunters Point Naval Shipyard takes center stage as PUSH Dance Company returns to the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) for the premiere of a dance installation involving athletic movement, music, spoken word and digital video. Point Shipyard Project examines the complexities of living within proximity to the Navy Shipyard's toxic Superfund site and the plans for environmental mitigation at that site. Simpson, who was featured as visiting scholar and guest choreographer at Sacramento State University and recently toured with her group to Ferst Center at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, will once again collaborate with 3rd St Youth Center & Clinic, a community partnership that has lasted since 2008 to produce such works as Mixed Messages and Something Leftover From the Last. Performances will be given today, March 29th, at 1 pm and 3pm.; and Sunday, March 30th, at 1 pm and 3pm.

The dance installation will use the state-of-the-art facility and staircase of the MoAD into a vibrant performance space, and MoAD is located at 685 Mission Street, in San Francisco. For more information, visit www.pushdance.org.

What will Bayview/Hunters Point look like beyond 2024? How will the demographics shift in the historically African American neighborhood? Point Shipyard Project's experimental approach will foster artistic development for collaborating artists and dancers, while providing a platform for each participant and partner to discover more about their own personal and cultural histories. Many of the 3rd St youth take pride in their neighborhood and hope to be positive influences in its future development, while being simultaneously impacted by the ongoing displacement of families and low-income residents of Bayview/Hunters Point through the gentrification process. According to Time Magazine, over 60% of people of color live next to a toxic waste site; a statistic clearly evident in several of the region's communities: Richmond, West Oakland, and Bayview/Hunters Point. Through the performance inquiry of environmental racism and gentrification, PUSH will uncover testimonials from Bayview/Hunters Point youth rarely expressed in a public arena. Point Shipyard Project facilitates a frank discourse on race relations within the context of a powerful, multi-disciplinary rendering of a very complex and timely social issue.

Tickets for the 2014 PUSH Dance Company performances of Point Shipyard Project are priced $25 general admission, $20 advance, $10 SeniorStudentMoAD Member and may be purchased at http://push.eventbrite.com or visit www.pushdance.org for more information.

About Raissa Simpson and PUSH Dance Company: PUSH Dance Company (PUSH) under the direction of Raissa Simpson, melds music and media, deftly weaving inter-generational and inter-community voices to create a potent force that advances the idiom of dance. Articulating details that run through the whole body, Push builds vibrant cross-cultural works to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges attributed to mixed heritage by using non-traditional dance forms. Edgy, sleek, and sexy, each moment generates a fresh perspective from intermingling diverse dancers in raw situations- aptly described as emotional and kinetic. Showcasing rarely seen, discussed or presented topics in public settings, PUSH provides an opportunity to examine issues that surround and affect us all.

Raissa Simpson, award-winning choreographer and performer, founded Push Dance Company in 2005. Simpson is the recipient of ChoreoProject's Audience Award, Margaret Jenkins Dance Company's CHIME, the Regional Dance America Award, and multiple grants including CA$H, The San Francisco Arts Commission, San Francisco Foundation, Kenneth Ranin Foundation, and The Zellerbach Family Foundation. Her company has toured extensively and has been featured in the Evolve Dance Festival, APAP, and the Black Choreographer's Festival as well as bi-coastal performances at the Washington Ensemble theater, ODC, and Joyce SoHo.

Simpson, who is African American and Filipina American, uses non-traditional dance forms to illuminate the complexities of mixed race heritage. After receiving her BFA from the conservatory of dance at State University of New York at Purchase, Simpson has 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. Her daring approach to movement informs her innovative and multidisciplinary work with PUSH.

Seamlessly integrating multimedia with cutting-edge choreography, Simpson's pieces do not reside merely onstage-they 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 multiple aspects such as video projection, live music, and aerial dance. Her extensive choreographic experience has led to work with Lucas Films and commercial music videos. Simpson is committed to diverse community partnerships and education; she has worked with Stanford University, 3rd St Youth Center and Clinic, and the San Francisco County Jail as a visiting artist. Her work is not restricted by conventional boundaries. She currently teaches her unique approach to movement in schools and dance studios across the United States.


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