Ahmad Simmons is a native of Fort Worth, Texas where he began his training at the Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts. While in Texas, he trained extensively through the Dallas Black Dance Theater, the Debbie Allen Dance Institute and the Dian Clough West Dance Center. Additional training includes summers at the Broadway Theatre Project in Florida and Montreal’s Springboard Danse program. Holding a BFA in Dance from Point Park University, under the direction of Susan Stowe, he has performed works by Bill T. Jones, Robert Battle, David Parsons, Lar Lubovitch, Daniel Ezralow, Aszure Barton, Sidra Bell, Mauro Astolfi, Adam Barruch, Kate Skarpetowska and others. After graduating, he danced a season with Eisenhower Dance Ensemble in Rochester, Michigan. He is currently touring nationally and internationally as a dancer with River North Dance Chicago performing in such countries as Germany, Switzerland, and Russia. In addition to concert dance work, he is a proud member of the Actors’ Equity Association and has performed with the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera in a number of shows including Cats, West Side Story, Oklahoma with Shirley Jones, Peter Pan with Cathy Rigby, Hairspray, The Producers, and Oliver. In Chicago, he can be found teaching classes for B-Discovered Dance Company, Extensions Dance Center and Visceral Dance Center. Ahmad is also a proud Co-founder/Artistic Director of Pursuit Productions, a company with the mission to produce and present collaborative work by fresh, innovative minds in Chicago. He and co-director Kacie Smith have been producing their own dance-theater fusion work with the help of many local composers, designers, dancers and actors. His choreographic body includes works for Forum Jazz Dance Theatre, Visceral Studio Company, Extensions Dance Company, DanceWorks Chicago, Thodos Dance Chicago, Dance in the Parks, and Nomi Dance Company.
DURING THE CDF YEAR
Ahmad Simmons will spend his year creating a work entitled THEM, a dance/theatre exploration of the fear and violence that result from categorizing ourselves and creating an “other” or “them” in our community. Initially inspired by the realities of life in Chicago and the Rainer Maria Rilke quote “Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love,” THEM will blend highly physical contemporary dance, film and theatre to give an individual face to the “other.”