Simone Linhares Ferro

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 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.  For the past 13 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’s current projects involve the presidency of the non-for-profit dance organization, Wisconsin Dance Council, the writing of her first dance teacher’s biography and a book proposal she is jointly writing with her husband on the Leadership of Women in the Popular Culture of Maranhão.  Simone is currently in her second year as the president of the Wisconsin Dance Council.

Ferro helping a student perform a port de bras derrière during class at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Photograph Courtesy of Simone Ferro
Ferro teaching class in South Korea. Photography by Meredith W. Watts
Ferro during a trip to Bumba-meu-boi folk festivities in the Northeastern state of Maranhão.   Photography by Meredith W. Watts