About Rosy Simas

Simas WWID

Rosy Simas in “We Wait In The Darkness” 2014

“It takes a special kind of performer to bewitch an audience with stillness. Rosy Simas has that gift. An articulate dancer, Simas has the ability to suffuse the smallest movements, or even complete motionlessness, with a captivating aura.” – Sheila Regan, City Pages, January 2015
An award-winning Haudenosaunee (Seneca Nation, Heron Clan) mid-career choreographer based in Minneapolis, MN, Rosy Simas is a designer and director of dance, solo and collaborative performer, movement-based and multidisciplinary teacher, events curator, Indigenous and multicultural arts advocate, and mentor of diverse artists.
For over 20 years, her immersive, intersectional, Indigenous-centered artistic practice has remained historically situated, geographically grounded, and politically current nationally and internationally. A movement- and multimedia-based Native feminist, she critically centers Indigenous cultural/political persistence.
Building community across difference while maintaining a Native cultural focus, Simas collaborates with Indigenous, feminist/womanist, Two-Spirit/queer, people of color, and other differently-embodied dancers and artists to deepen and amplify her practice of engaging stories that create complex somatic, visual, and acoustic landscapes.
Her creative process begins within, and returns to, community as a way of giving back and remaining engaged with Native urban and reservation populations. Research, improvisation, and collaboration shape rehearsal, generating new work that is refined cyclically, iteratively, through performances in sites expected and unexpected, that expand and deepen our connections to place and the peoples of that place.
Simas was a 2013 Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Fellow, 2015 Guggenheim Fellow, 2016 McKnight Choreography Fellow and 2016 First Peoples Fund Fellow. Her work has been supported nationally by NEFA National Dance Project Production and Tour awards, and the National Presenters Network Creation Fund.
Simas’ work has been presented at MAI (Montréal Arts Interculturels), Univ. of Riverside/Culver Center, Red Eye Theater (MN), All My Relations Arts (MN), SUNY Fredonia, Myrna Loy Center (MT), Dance Center at Columbia College Chicago, Maui Arts and Cultures Center, Autry National Museum (CA), Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara, ODC Theater (CA), American Indian Community Housing Organization (MN), Edge Center for the Arts (MN), Carleton College (MN), Kelly Strayhorn Theater (PA), Northwestern Univ. (IL), Indigenous Arts Program at Banff Centre (AB), Oneida Arts Program (WI), Talking Stick Festival (BC) and IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (NM).
Her work “Skin(s)” is touring to EastSide Arts (CA), Intermedia Arts (MN), LaPeña (CA), City of Chicago Cultural Center, AICHO (MN) and Northwestern University. Her solo “We Wait In The Darkness” will tour in 2017 to DANSEM (Marseille) and the Living Ritual Festival (Toronto).
In 2017 Simas co-curated with the Ordway – Oyate Okotakiciyapi – a series of Native contemporary dance events in the Twin Cities.
Rosy Simas Resume
Honors
Twin Cities City Pages Artist of the Year, 2014
Minnesota Sage Dance Award for Outstanding Design, 2014
Fellowships and Awards
McKnight Fellowship for Choreography, 2016
Tiwahe Foundation Grant Award, 2016
First People’s Fund Artist in Business Leadership Fellowship, 2016
New England Foundation for the Arts National Dance Project Tour award, 2016
Minnesota State Arts Board, Dance Artist Initiative Award, 2014, 2016
Guggenheim Creative Arts Fellowship for Choreography, 2015
National Presenters Network Creation Fund, 2015
Minnesota State Arts Board, Arts Tour Grant Award, 2014-2015
First People’s Fund Our Nations Spaces Grant Award with Dance Place, 2014
Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, Arts Activities Grant Awards: 2001, 2011, 2013, 2014
Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Dance Fellowship, 2013
New England Foundation for the Arts National Dance Project Production/Tour award, 2013
Tiwahe Foundation Grant Award, 2013
American Composers Forum Live Music for Dance Grant Award, 2013
MRAC/McKnight Foundation Next Step Fund Grant Award, 2012
Minnesota State Arts Board Cultural, Community Partnership Grant Awards, 2005, 2012
Commissions
Skin(s), Intermedia Arts (Minneapolis), EastSide Arts Alliance (Oakland), and LaPeña (Berkeley), 2016.
Within Our Skin, University of Minnesota Department of Dance (Minneapolis), Northwestern University Department of Dance (Chicago), and St. Paul Conservatory for the Arts (St. Paul), 2016.
Skin(s) (duet study), Right Here Series (Minnesota), 2014.
Where Are We Going, Oneida Nation Arts Program, 2003 (Green Bay, WI)
Moments In Between, Jerome Performance Art Commissioning Project at Intermedia Arts, 2002 (Minneapolis)
Momentum Series – Walker Art Center/Southern Theater, (Minneapolis), 2001
Residencies
IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Art Social Engagement Residency, 2014 (Santa Fe, NM)
Banff Centre for the Arts Indigenous Arts Program Residency, 2012 (Canada)
Montréal Arts Interculturels (MAI), Creation/Performance Residency 2014 (Canada)
Exhibits
We Wait In The Darkness, The Edge Center, Big Fork, MN, April 2016.
We Wait In The Darkness, Gimaajii-Mino-Bimaadizimin, Duluth, MN, November 2015.
All My Relations: A Seneca History, Mitchell Museum of the American Indian, Chicago, 2014-2015.
We Wait In The Darkness, All My Relations Arts, Minneapolis, June-July 2014.
Choreography (2006-2016)
Skin(s)  commissioned by: Intermedia Arts (Minneapolis), EastSide Arts Alliance (Oakland), LaPeña (Berkeley). Premiering October 2016 at Intermedia Arts. Iterations for: Kelly Strayhorn Theater in August 2016, LaPeña in May 2017, EastSide Arts November in 2017, Northwestern University in December 2017, and City of Chicago Cultural Center January 2018.
Within Our Skin 2016 iterations for: University of Minnesota Department of Dance (Minneapolis), Northwestern University Department of Dance (Chicago), and St. Paul Conservatory for the Arts (St. Paul).
We Wait In The Darkness, February 2014 Canadian premiere at Montréal Arts Interculturels (MAI). July 2014 U.S. Premiere at Red Eye Theater, Minneapolis. 2014-2106 Tour: ODC (San Francisco), Dance Place (Washington D.C), Maui Arts and Cultural Center, The Autry (Los Angeles), Dance Center at Columbia College of Chicago, UCR/Culver Center (Riverside), SUNY Fredonia (Fredonia, NY), The Myrna Loy Center (Helena, MT), The American Indian Housing Organization (Duluth, MN), The Edge Arts Center (Big Fork, MN), Carleton College (Northfield, MN). Excerpt also presented at the Judson Memorial Church by Movement Research (New York City).
Skin(s) various dance studies, presented by: Right Here Series (Minneapolis), IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (Santa Fe), Full Circle Productions Talking Stick Festival (Vancouver, BC).
I Took My Lucky Break And I Broke It In Two, January 2013 presented in Échange: the Twin Cities/Montréal Dance Exchange at the JSB Tek Box in The Cowles Center (Minneapolis).
Blood Lines, September 2012 U.S. premiere, Southern Theater (Minneapolis). February 2013 Canadian premiere, Talking Stick Festival (Vancouver, BC) 2013 Tour: Performance Mix Festival (New York City) and University of California at Riverside.
Listen, September 2012, a solo for Jim Liberthal, Southern Theater (Minneapolis). Winner of a Minnesota Sage Award for Outstanding Performance.
Threshold, art/dance film in collaboration with photographer Douglas Beasley. July 2013 U.S. premiere, Dreamland Arts (St. Paul). February 2014 Canadian premiere, Montréal Arts Interculturels (MAI). March 2016 in the MNTV series (IFP/ Twin Cities PBS/Walker Art Center), at the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis).
Threshold, September 2012, Southern Theater (Minneapolis).
i want it to be raining and the window to be open, premiere November 2012 Choreographer’s Evening, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. April 2013, Performance Mix Festival (New York City).
Alice, March 2012 at the Cedar Cultural Center, the Red Eye Theater, and 9×22 at Bryant Lake Bowl Theater, (Minneapolis).
Without Skin Between Us, July 2010, Bedlam Theater, Minneapolis.
Le Côte, Birds & Stationnement Resident Seulement, October 2008 premiere, Studio 303 (Montréal), and March 2009 at the California Building (Minneapolis).
Teaching
Community Engagement Residencies:
IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Art (Santa Fe) 2014, Talking Stick Festival (Vancouver) 2013/2014, and Onieda Arts Program (Green Bay) 2001/2002/2010.
Workshops: Studio 303 (Montréal) 2008/2009/2011, MAI (Montréal Arts Interculturels) 2014, Zenon Dance School (Minneapolis) 2009-2015.
Master classes: University of California at Riverside 2013, State University of New York at Fredonia 2014, Carroll College/Myrna Loy Center (Helena, MT) 2014, Dance Center of Columbia College (Chicago) 2014, Dance Place (Washington D.C.) 2015, Maui Arts and Cultures Center (Hawaii) 2015, University of California at Berkeley 2015, ODC (San Francisco) 2015, The Cowles Center for Dance (Minneapolis) 2015/2016, and Northwestern University (Chicago) 2016.