- Professor Emerita, Dance
MFA, Dance, University of Iowa
GL-CMA, Columbia College of Chicago
A native of São Paulo, Brazil, Simone Ferro is a choreographer, educator and researcher. She joined the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2001 where she served as M.F.A. program director and as department chair for many years. After a professional career as soloist with dance companies in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Geneva, Switzerland, she completed her graduate work in dance at the University of Iowa. She is a Laban Certified Movement Analyst by the Columbia College of Chicago. 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 artistic 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 justice issues, from historical and women’s themes to the analysis of more intimate human relationships.
Simone is recipient of several awards, including a UWM Graduate School Research Grant, an Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award, a Research Growth Initiative (RGI) grant, Choreographic Fellowship from the Wisconsin Arts Board and was honored with a 2013 University of Iowa Alumni Fellowship. Most recently, Simone has received a Fellowship by the UWM’s Center for Lattin American and Caribbean Studies and has been awarded a Fulbright to continue developing her research in Maranhão in the Spring 2022.
For the past 15 years, she travels to Brazil with her husband and research partner, Meredith W. Watts, to document and research popular culture and the traditional Bumba-meu-boi folk festivities in the Northeastern state of Maranhão. She has posted dozens of video-clips in her personal website where she has pioneered a repository of the Bumba-meu-boi. Simone has recently completed a manuscript she is jointly writing with her husband on the Leadership of Women in the Popular Culture of Maranhão.
Simone’s Milwaukee Through Embodied Research has worked with more than fifteen research students over the past six years. The project addresses social and environmental justice and community resilience through oral histories in the central city community of Sherman Park and Washington Park. It includes a variety of community activities including site-specific interventions in foreclosure homes, performances in porches and living rooms, parks, alleys, restaurants and public spaces.
She is currently in her second term as the president of the Wisconsin Dance Council and is on the board of the National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD). She also serves as site evaluator for NASD.