Choreographer Raissa Simpson of PUSH Dance Company was inspired to participate in dance anywhere® because she considers public performance to be as important as the choreographic process. “My dances for PUSH Dance Company have relationships to the audience. This means that dance anywhere® was an opportunity for me to shift my dance into an interactive site work in the Museum of the African Diaspora’s windows, adjacent sidewalk, and the crosswalk on 3rd and Mission streets in San Francisco.”
PUSH Dance Company performed excerpts from their work, Point Shipyard Project in front of MoAD in downtown San Francisco. The piece sought to generate discussion on African diaspora, gentrification, and environmental justice. “The PUSH dancers and I worked to adapt an already set piece meant for an indoor formal performance into a structured improv outdoors”. The dancers performed in two groups who did the same ongoing performance, one group after the other, culminating in an hour- long performance.
Raissa’s creativity was sparked while watching her dance. “I think this is because each participating body or member of the audience simply did not know that they were participating. In fact, the interactions with passersby became a part of the richly textured movement”. While Raissa admits that it was scary to have such full-bodied dynamic movement performed on a busy public street during lunchtime rush hour, she said, ” it also reaffirmed my passion that anything should be danced anywhere”.
Raissa considered the passerby to be participants in her performance. “Almost everyone who I call a participating body wanted to follow the dancing as it progressed from the museum to the crosswalk finale. We had a very large crowd to manage, but it all seemed part of a larger design. For some people the reaction was internalized and I observed them staying for more than one round or group of performers.”
Raissa first learned of dance anywhere® in 2012 when she performed with PUSH at the Oakland Museum California. She said, “dance anywhere® has grown a lot as a celebration since I performed at the Oakland Museum. I look forward to seeing it expand into more countries and more people.” She is excited to see how the world continues to converse through dance anywhere®. “Movement isn’t just a form of traveling or preparing a task, like typing, it’s a language. Dance is a language that anyone can understand no matter where you are in the world”.