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SKIN(S): a Dance Work, a Film, & Web Media Project

May 20 @ 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every day that begins at 8:00pm, repeating until May 20, 2017

La Peña Cultural Center presents:

Skin(s): a dance work, a film, and a web media project. 

Skin(s) shares the beauty and diversity of how Native people identify and examines the contradictions, pride, joy, pain, and sorrow that arise out of our many dimensions of identity.

An invitation from the director & choreographer, Rosy Simas:

“The Skin(s) project was inspired by my meeting and visiting with Native people in cities and rural areas where I have been touring my performances. Native people are mostly invisible to the wider population, yet the diversity of Native identity is vast. There are 567 federally recognized tribes, and thousands of Native people identifying in multiple ways – defining for themselves who they are. 

The Skin(s) project is multi-faceted in order to demonstrate the multitude of ways contemporary Native people view themselves in the world. Skin(s) is a visual art exhibit, a dance, a film, and a web based media project that will grow over the years.

I am Native, I am Seneca, I am also a dancemaker. This is what makes my work Native. This is what makes my dance about Native identity. Because just simply being a Native dancemaker is political. It is my continual embodied political act of creating more visibility of Native people. My Skin(s) dance is a multi-dimensional moving

image. It is ever evolving and will shift and change in each location it travels to: Duluth, Berkeley, Oakland, Chicago, Evanston, Riverside. It will accumulate stories and emotions. It will carry those into each new iteration of the work. Skin(s) right now is a dance of sensing… sensing the visible and invisible. It is a dance literally informed by skin, what we hold in our skin, what we reveal, what we sense and how it carries us through the world.

Skin(s) is performed by five exquisite, intelligent moving bodies. That is what makes this dance a dance. I have just been their guide. I build the frame, the container… they are the sweetness, the energy, the ones that draw us in and make us love the world of the senses.

The Skin(s) project is dedicated to the memory of Roger Buffalohead (Ponca). Roger was a Native scholar, educator and a historian. Throughout his life he was dedicated to Native education and helping Native students earn higher education degrees at a time when this seemed impossible to many. He taught me many things in subtle ways that I didn’t realize until I was in my 40s. I carry in all that I do his care and love for me and for Native American people.

– Rosy Simas


Rosy Simas


François Richomme


Zoë Klein

Lela Pierce

Rosy Simas

Taja Will


Valerie Oliveiro


Andrew Young


Heid E. Erdrich


Rosy Simas with contributions from Andrew Young

HEID E. ERDRICH is a collaborative artist and the author of four collections of poetry, most recently Cell Traffic from University of Arizona Press. Her curatorial work includes over a dozen exhibits in Minnesota. Heid’s poem films have been selected for screening at festivals internationally including ImagineNative, Co-Kisser, Native Film Festival, Vision Maker, and at the Santa Fe Indian Market film festival, Class-X. Her collaborative poem videos have won a Judges Award, a Best of Fest, and a Best Experimental Short awards in 2014 and 2015. Heid grew up in Wahpeton, North Dakota and is Ojibwe enrolled at Turtle Mountain. She teaches the MFA Creative Writing program of Augsburg College

VALERIE OLIVEIRO was born in Singapore and lives in Minneapolis, MN. As of this writing she has just walked in from the outside and is sitting in the theater of Intermedia Arts. It had rained last night and the light from the outside is diffused, very very soft. Red vest, paper and fabric walls, white socks, orange. He/Him, She/Her introductions. This is a practice.

LELA PIERCE is a multiracial black American visual artist and dancer based out of Minneapolis, MN. She has danced with Ananya Dance Theatre since 2004, Aniccha Arts and Rosy Simas Danse companies. Lela has been a student of the Himalayan Yoga Tradition since childhood. Growing up in the St. Croix River Valley, she has found infinite inspiration from the intimacies of nature.

FRANÇOIS RICHOMME  is a musician, sound engineer and sound designer trained in contemporary dance. He creates the scores of numerous world-class choreographic productions. His work investigates mainly the question of sound considered as a space, movements of sounds using multiple speakers installations and explores how the body, dance and choreography can become a source language defining musical structure in composition. Some of the choreographers Richomme has collaborated with include: Ann Lheureux, Fadhel Jaïbi, Christian Zagaria & Khalid Benghrib, Marc Vincent, Emmanuel Grivet, and Atamira Dance Company. Richomme has also danced with Mathilde Monnier (Sursaut) and Anna Halprin (Spirit of Place).

ROSY SIMAS (director/choreographer) is an enrolled Seneca from the Heron clan. She is a Minneapolis based choreographer, engaged in the dance field as a performer, teacher, curator, advocate and mentor to other Native artists and artists of color. For more than 20 years she has created work dealing with a wide range of political, social and cultural subject matter from a Native feminist perspective. Simas is 2016 McKnight Choreography fellow, 2016 First Peoples Fund Artist in Business Leadership fellow, a 2015 Guggenheim fellow, and a 2013 Native Arts and Cultures Foundation fellow. Her work is supported nationally by NEFA National Dance Project (2014, 2016), National Performance Network (2015), and regionally by the Minnesota State Arts Board (2014, 2016) and the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (2014). Her most recent work, We Wait In The Darkness, has toured to 14 cities and won a 2014 Sage Award and a 2014 City Pages Artist of the Year citation.

TAJA WILL is a local performer, choreographer and healing practitioner. Will is interested the intersection of art making and our socio-cultural environment. In addition to working with Rosy Simas, Will is creating an evening length solo, Bruja, to premiere in May 2017 in the Right Here Showcase.


The presentation of Skin(s) was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Skin(s) is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation Fund Project co-commissioned by Intermedia Arts in partnership with La Peña Cultural Center,  Eastside Arts Alliance, Rosy Simas Danse, and NPN. The Creation Fund is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency).For more information: www.npnweb.org.

Skin(s) is supported by a 2015 Guggenheim Creative Arts Fellowship for Choreography awarded to Rosy Simas. Simas is also a  fiscal year 2016 recipient of an Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. Skin(s) is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a Minnesota State legislature; and by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

François Richomme appears via a partnership with Association Artefactdanse, Montpellier, France.

Rosy Simas Danse would like to thank the dedicated staff of La Peña Cultural Center, Intermedia Arts and the other Skin(s) commissioners –  Eastside Arts Alliance in Oakland and  Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis. We are grateful to the Intertribal Friendship House in Oakland, the American Indian Association of Illinois in Chicago, the Aloha Center in Chicago, Birchbark Books and Kelly Wisecup – who all helped in different ways with our filming. Rosy would like to thank IAIA MocNa, The Talking Stick Festival in Vancouver,  and the Right Here Showcase for supporting early stages of this project through residencies and performance opportunities. Rosy Simas Danse would like to thank everyone who loaned a blanket, all the lovely people who participated in our  filming, and our recent donors.

La Peña Cultural Center 3105 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley, CA 94705 www.lapena.org


May 20
8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Event Category:


La Peña Cultural Center
3105 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94705 United States
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