Skin(s) (2016)

Simas larger 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. From 2016 through 2017 Skin(s) is being developed in three regions: the Twin Cities, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Chicago metropolitan area.

The Skin(s) project was inspired by Simas’ visits with other Native people in cities and rural areas where she has been touring. 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) film by Elizabeth Day and Heid E. Erdrich celebrates urban Native identity – post relocation in Chicago, San Francisco Bay Area and the Twin Cities. The film will premiere in the Skin(s) exhibit at intermedia.

The Skin(s) media project is an ever evolving website dedicated to visually demonstrate the diversity of Native identity throughout Turtle Island. Visit:

“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.”

“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

Skin(s) — the dance — explores what we hold, reveal and share through our skin. It is performed by three to fourteen exquisite sensing beings. 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.
— rosy simas

TOUr 2016 – 2018

  • Kelly Strayhorn Studios, Pittsburgh, PA, 2016
  • Intermedia Arts, Minneapolis, MN, 2016
  • Indigenous Choreographers at Riverside, Riverside, CA, 2016
  • La Peña, Berkeley, CA 2017
  • Eastside Arts Alliance, Oakland, CA, 2017
  • Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, 2017
  • City of Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, IL, 2018
  • American Indian Community Housing Organization, Duluth, MN, 2018

Skin(s) is made possible





Banner image Zoë Klein in Skin(s). Photo by Carrie Rosema/Indigenous Choreographers at Riverside, 2016.