Native American Choreographer Examines Seneca History & DNA Scars

On Saturday, April 18 at 8pm and Sunday, April 19 at 7pm, Dance Place presents We Wait In The Darkness, a new solo by Native American contemporary choreographer Rosy Simas. The piece explores how ancestry, homeland and culture are stored in the body and is inspired by the lives of Seneca women in Simas’ family. The audience goes on a journey of displacement and homecoming through an otherworldly environment of film and sound created with French composer François Richomme.

“Recent scientific study verifies what many Native people have always known, that traumatic events in our ancestors lives are in our bodies, blood and bones. These events leave molecular scars adhering to our DNA. Our grandmother’s tragic childhood can trigger depression or anxiety in us, but we have the ability to heal these DNA encodings and change that trait for future generations.” – Rosy Simas

If time travels in both directions, we can heal the scars on our grandparents’ DNA. We Wait In The Darkness is an art/dance work to heal the DNA scars of Simas’ grandmother, her mother and our ancestors. The work is fueled by the stories of the Seneca women of Simas’ family, particularly her Akso:d (grandmother) Clarinda Waterman.

Within in an environment of images and sounds from Seneca lands, this new dance work engages past and future, DNA memory, and invisible presences, to create a personal artwork about loss, family, perseverance and home.

The work is directly connected to the “Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations” exhibit currently on display at the National Musuem of the American Indian. We Wait In The Darkness addresses the 1960 breaking of the 1794 Treaty of Canandaigua, the building of the Kinzua Dam and the subsequent flooding the Cornplanter tract of the Seneca territory where Simas’ grandmother was born. The Kinzua Dam project displaced of hundreds of Seneca people.

“This is a generous and personal work on many levels — it’s as if Simas has flung open the door to her subconscious and invited the audience inside to have a look around.” – Caroline Palmer, Star Tribune

About Rosy Simas
Minneapolis based contemporary dance choreographer Rosy Simas (Seneca) investigates how culture, history, homeland and identity are stored in the body and expressed in movement. Simas is driven by many inspirations: philosophy, relationships, art, nature, poetry, music and history.

Her latest work We Wait In The Darkness, which is currently touring North America, was awarded a 2014 Sage Dance Award for outstanding design and nominated for outstanding performance. Currently her work is supported by NEFA National Dance Project, First People’s Fund Our Nations Spaces grant, American Composers Forum and regionally from Minnesota State Arts Board and Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (MRAC). In 2013, she received the prestigious Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Dance Fellowship, a Native Cultural Connections award from TIWAHE Foundation and the highly competitive Next Step award from the McKnight/MRAC. Commissions and residencies include: a Jerome Performance Art Commissioning Project, The Momentum Series (Walker Art Center), Indigenous Arts Program at the Banff Centre, IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts in Santa Fe, and the Right Here Showcase in Minneapolis.

Simas values involvement in community as essential to living and art making. Simas is not only a choreographer but has held administrative and management positions in the arts and non-profits. Since 1992, she has been committed to creating opportunities for other dance makers and artists to create and present work.

WHAT: Rosy Simas

WHEN: Saturday, April 18 at 8pm and Sunday, April 19 at 7pm

WHERE: Dance Place, 3225 8th Street NE, Washington, DC 20017; two blocks from Redline Brookland/CUA Metro station; free and convenient parking

TICKETS: $30 Admission At the Door; $25 Admission (Advance Sales only)*; $20 Dance Place Members, Seniors (55+), Artists (Advance Sales only)*; $15 College Students and Children (17 & under)

*Advance Sales end 4 hours prior to performance start time.

To purchase tickets, visit or call 202.269.1600


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