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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, 2014

Rosy Simas

I am Haudenosaunee, Seneca, Heron clan. I grew up in an intertribal urban Native community. My youth was spent dancing around a drum and in play with other Native bodies. The living architecture of my body is formed by movements deeply connected to the earth. Culture, history, and identity stored in my body are the underpinning of all my work.

I am a dance artist, administrator, and advocate. I am the director of Rosy Simas Danse, a role that is equal parts creative (choreographing, teaching, and curating) and administrative (development, management, and community engagement). In all that I do I center Native cultural and political persistence.

My choreographic work investigates how culture, history and identity are stored in the body and expressed in movement. For more than 20 years I have created work dealing with a wide range of political, social and cultural subject matter from a Native feminist perspective.

My choreographic works are presented throughout the U.S. and Canada. As well, I give lectures and appear on panels throughout the U.S. and Canada on a wide range of Native and Native arts issues. I use all of these performing opportunities, speaking engagements and community discussions to advocate for contemporary Native artists and to bring awareness to Indigenous issues locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. 

I have been honored by the Native community with a Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Fellowship (2013), a First Peoples Fund Fellowship (2016), and residencies at the Banff Centre Indigenous Arts Program, All My Relations Arts, Full Circle's Talking Stick Festival, and Institute of American Indian Arts' Museum of Contemporary Native Arts.

I am a Guggenheim (2015) and McKnight (2016) Choreography Fellow. My work is supported nationally by the Knight Foundation’s Knight Arts Challenge; New England Foundation for the Arts National Dance Project, MAP Fund, and National Performance Network Creation Fund.

My solo, “We Wait In The Darkness” has been presented at venues such as: ODC; Dance Place; Maui Arts & Cultural Center; MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels); The Autry; The Dance Center at Columbia College Chicago; SUNY Fredonia; the Living Ritual Festival in Toronto, and in DANSEM Festival in Marseille, Fr.



Individual Awards/Honors/Fellowships (2012-2018)

  • Joyce Award from the Joyce Foundation, 2018
  • Artist Initiative Award from the Minnesota State Arts Board, 2014, 2016, 2018
  • Choreography Fellowship from the McKnight Foundation, 2016
  • Artist Fellowship from the First People’s Fund, 2016
  • Empowerment Award from the Tiwahe Foundation, 2013, 2016
  • Creative Arts Fellowship for Choreography from Guggenheim Foundation, 2015
  • Minnesota Sage Dance Award for Outstanding Design, 2014
  • Twin Cities City Pages Artist of the Year, 2014
  • Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Choreography Fellowship, 2013
  • MRAC/McKnight Foundation Next Step Fund Award, 2012

Project Grant Awards (2012-2018)

  • National Performance Network Creation Fund, 2018
  • Knight Arts Challenge Award from the Knight Foundation for Weavein partnership with O'Shaughnessy at St. Catherine’s and the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, 2018
  • National Dance Project Production/Tour Award from New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) for Weave,2017
  • MAP Fund award for Weave, 2017
  • USArtists International from Mid-Atlantic Foundation for the Arts to present We Wait In The Darknessat DANSEM Festival in Marseille, France, 2017
  • National Dance Project Tour Award from NEFA for Skin(s),2016
  • Creation Fund award from National Performance Network for Skin(s), 2015
  • Arts Tour Grant award from Minnesota State Arts Board for We Wait In The Darkness, 2015
  • Our Nations Spaces award from First People’s Fund in partnership with Dance Place for We Wait In The Darkness, 2014
  • National Dance Project Production/Tour Award from NEFA for We Wait In The Darkness, 2013
  • Live Music for Dance Award from the American Composers Forum for a live composition commission from François Richomme for We Wait In The Darkness, 2013
  • Minnesota State Arts Board Cultural Community Partnership with Douglas Beasley for Threshold, 2012
  • Minnesota State Arts Board Cultural, Community Partnership Grant, 2005, 2012

Commissions (2014-2018)

  • Weave, Ordway Center for the Performing Arts (St. Paul) in partnership with O’Shaughnessy at St. Catherine University; Alabama Dance Council; P’AI Foundation (Oahu), Maui Arts & Cultural Center; and Dance Place (Washington D.C.), 
  • Skin(s) 2014-2016: Right Here Series (Minneapolis); Intermedia Arts (Minneapolis); EastSide Arts (Oakland); and LaPeña (Berkeley).
  • Within Our Skin, 2014-2016: University of Minnesota Department of Dance (Minneapolis), Northwestern University Department of Dance (Evanston), St. Paul Conservatory for the Arts (St. Paul); and SUNY Fredonia. 

Residencies (2014-2018)

  • All My Relations Arts (Minneapolis), Summer 2018
  • Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography (Tallahassee), February 2018
  • Kelly Strayhorn Theater (Pittsburgh), August 2016
  • IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Art Social Engagement Residency (Santa Fe, NM), August 2014 
  • Exhibits (2014-2018)
  • Seneca Women and Haudenosaunee Homelands: Memories and Movements, a part of American Realnessat Abrons Arts Center (New York City), January 2018
  • We Wait In The Darkness,The Edge Center (Big Fork, MN), April 2016
  • We Wait In The Darkness,Gimaajii-Mino-Bimaadizimin(Duluth), November 2015
  • All My Relations: A Seneca History, Mitchell Museum of the American Indian (Chicago), September 2014–September 2015
  • We Wait In The Darkness,All My Relations Arts (Minneapolis), June-July 2014

Curation (2014-2018)

  • Oyate Okodakiciyapi:An Evening of Native Contemporary Dance, in collaboration with theOrdway Center for Performing Arts (St. Paul, MN), March 2017
  • Choreographer’s Evening, Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN), November 2016
  • Échange: The Twin Cities/Montréal Dance Exchange, JSB Tek Box in The Cowles Center (Minneapolis, MN), January 2014 


  • Board of Directors, Dance USA.

Choreography (2012-2018)

  • Weave 2019-2020 scheduled tour: Ordway (St. Paul); Dance Place (Washington D.C.); Maui Arts & Cultural Center, and Alabama Dance Council (Birmingham).
  • Transfuse for May 3, 2018 at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. MN.
  • Skin(s) 2015–2018:Full Circle Productions Talking Stick Festival (Vancouver, BC); Intermedia Arts (Minneapolis); Indigenous Choreographers at UC Riverside; LaPeña (Berkeley); Northwestern University (Evanston); EastSide Arts (Oakland); City of Chicago Cultural Center; and Gimaajii-Mino-Bimaadizimin(Duluth).
  • Within Our Skin 2015-2016: SUNY Fredonia; St. Paul Conservatory for the Arts (St. Paul); Northwestern University Department of Dance (Evanston); and University of Minnesota Department of Dance (Minneapolis).
  • Transfuse 2015, Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara.
  • We Wait In The Darkness 2014–2018: MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels); Indigenous Choreographers at Riverside; All My Relations Arts (Minneapolis), Red Eye Theater (Minneapolis); The Myrna Loy Center (Helena); Dance Center at Columbia College of Chicago; SUNY Fredonia; Maui Arts & Cultural Center; The Autry (Los Angeles); Dance Place (Washington D.C); ODC (San Francisco); Gimaajii-Mino-Bimaadizimin; The Edge Center (Big Fork); Carleton College (Northfield); Living Ritual Festival (Toronto); DANSEM 20 (Marseille, Fr); and American Realness at Abrons Arts Center (New York City).
  • Thresholda dance & film collaboration with Douglas Beasley and François Richomme. 2012-2016: U.S. premiere, Dreamland Arts (St. Paul); Canadian premiere, Montréal Arts Interculturels (MAI); Southern Theater (Minneapolis); and MNTV series (IFP/ Twin Cities PBS/Walker Art Center).
  • I Took My Lucky Break And I Broke It In Two 2012-2013: presented in Échange: the Twin Cities/Montréal Dance Exchange, The Cowles Center (Minneapolis) and at Studio 303 (Montréal).
  • Blood Lines 2012-2013:U.S. premiere, Southern Theater (Minneapolis);  Canadian premiere, Talking Stick Festival (Vancouver, BC); Performance Mix Festival (New York City); and University of California at Riverside.
  • i want it to be raining and the window to be open 2012-2013:premiereChoreographers Evening, Walker Art Center (Minneapolis); and Performance Mix Festival (New York City).
  • Listen 2012, Southern Theater (Minneapolis). Winner of a Minnesota Sage Award for Outstanding Performance (Jim Liberthal, soloist).
  • Alice2012,Cedar Cultural Center (Minneapolis), Red Eye Theater (Minneapolis), and 9x22 at Bryant Lake Bowl Theater (Minneapolis).