Simone Ferro

A native of São Paulo, Brazil, Simone Ferro joined the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2001. She directed the Master of Fine Arts program in Dance for several years, and currently serves as Chair at the Department of Dance at the Peck School of the Arts. After a professional career as soloist with dance companies in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Geneva, Switzerland, she completed graduate work in dance at the University of Iowa.

Simone has collaborated extensively with local dance, theater and opera companies, including the Milwaukee Ballet, the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, the Florentine Opera, the Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra, the Milwaukee Opera Theater, Danceworks Performance Company, Wild Space Dance Company and Theatre Gigante. She is a strong advocate for the Milwaukee and the Midwestern dance community where she collaborates with visual artists, writers, musicians, filmmakers and scholars of different fields. Her choreographic work encompasses a wide range of thematic approaches from social issues, from historical themes and women’s themes to the analysis of more intimate human relationships.

She is the recipient of several awards, including a UWM Graduate School Research Grant, an Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award, a Research Growth Initiative (RGI) grant from the UWM Graduate School, and a Choreographic Fellowship from the Wisconsin Arts Board.

Since 2004 she has travelled regularly to Brazil with her husband and research partner, Meredith W. Watts, to document and research the traditional Bumba-meu-boi folk festivities in the Northeastern state of Maranhão. This project has resulted in a number of choreographic works, conference presentations and papers related to the Bumba-meu-boi (including an article pending publication in the Journal of Popular Culture). Over the years, Simone Ferro has accumulated more than thirty hours of interviews with local group owners, singers and aficionados of the Bumba-meu-boi. In her pioneering Bumba-meu-boi repository, researchers can access dozens of two-to-four minute video-clips of the Bumba-meu-boi as practiced in the state of Maranhão.