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SAMN Hosts S. T. Shimi '94

Shimi with Professor Ivy Schweitzer at post-performance reception, right

On Sunday, November 11, 2001, the Student/Alumnae Mentoring Network at the Women's Resource Center welcomed back S. T. Shimi '94 who presented a one-woman performance entitled "Southern Discomfort." Shimi, as she likes to be called, is a writer, dancer and performer who fuses the theoretical with the performative, forging a unique voice through her merger of text, Middle Eastern dance and performance art. During her visit, campus members were able to meet with Shimi over lunch and during a performance workshop, and SAMN students enjoyed a special opportunity to talk with her over an intimate dinner at the new Latino House.

A member of San Antonio's Jump-Start Performance Company, Shimi is also a member and instructor with Karavan Middle Eastern Dance Company, one of Texas' premiere Middle Eastern dance troupes. She is co-coordinator of Wednesdays-in-Performance/Works-in-Progress, a monthly movement-based performance laboratory. Her projects and performances embrace multiple disciplines to address social and cultural issues.

Keith Hennessey of The Grassroots Initiative writes:

  • "Southern Discomfort is solo dance theater; an autobiographical cuenta on religion, Texas, faith, trance, skin color, relocation, and exile. Shimi recounts key events leading to her evolution as an atheist in a series of texts punctuated with gesture and image. The accessible stories, both hilarious and provocative, illustrate a childhood marked by being the only brown (Indian) family among a congregation of Chinese attending Pentecostal churches in Singapore. Through cunning and fate Shimi finds her way to the theater, then Ivy League college in New Hampshire, and then to San Antonio. . . . Expressed through intimate personal accounts, the result of the text is sharply theoretical and deeply philosophical."

Diane Windeler of the San-Antonio Express News reviewed the performance:

  • "...Born in Singapore, Shimi was raised as an evangelical Christian. Her character remarks that the move to Texas, where she and her family hoped for 'some Southern comfort,' reinforced what [she] calls 'the uncomfortable matter of the complexion.' So, her family seeks one church after another, trying to find a state of grace in the state of Texas. Shimi's script brims with double-entendres and amusing segues such as her delicious parody of a dance team beauty. Here she dons a platinum wig, white boots, and a full short skirt, then prances about to David Byrne's hokey 'Miss America.' The satire sizzled even more because her moves were a blend of funky and sinuous, reflecting her training in Middle Eastern dance."

Shimi graduated from Dartmouth College in 1994 with a B.A. in Women's Studies and Theatre. She was a member of Casque and Gauntlet and a Senior Fellow, and her final project was a solo performance piece based on an incident of political repression in her native Singapore. During her student days, Simi co-edited Bug, a progressive student paper, performed with The Untamed Shrews, co-chaired Panarchy and Daglo (now DRA), and was awarded a 1994 Dean's Cup award for her community activism.

Last Updated: 9/12/13