Modern dance is not a system. It's a point of view. -- Martha Hill
Greg Vander Veer's 80-minute documentary, Miss Hill: Making Dance Matter, explores the visionary path of dance educator Martha Hill, from her Bible Belt upbringing and first sight of a Graham dance through her poignant final years at the Juilliard Dance Division. Bursting with archival footage, photographs and interviews, the film traces dance history through the many lives and careers influenced by Hill. It notes the significance of her support for America's early modern dance pioneers and her prescient insistence on building the total dancer, one grounded in both modern and balletic training.
Vander Veer gives Hill her due as an insightful, nurturing and inspiring leader, tough when she needed to be. He has not shied away from addressing the professional struggles she faced--a society that, when not damning dance as a sinful pursuit, considered dance training to be little better than Phys Ed and for girls only. And then there was Lincoln Kirstein's aggressive move to poach Hill's Juilliard studios for Balanchine and New York City Ballet. The going gets a little heavy here--moneyed, privileged, well-connected NYCB once again pulling focus--but you soon see this ugly episode's relevance to a narrative about fighting for what matters. It takes a strong woman, but it takes a village, too.
See Miss Hill: Making Dance Matter, starting Friday, January 23, at Quad Cinemas. A Q & A with Vander Veer and Coordinating Producer Vernon Scott will follow Friday and Saturday (7pm) and Saturday and Sunday (4:30pm) shows.
Future public screenings are scheduled for Spokane, WA, Columbus, OH, and Boston.
Distributed by First Run Features. For more information on future screenings or purchase, click here.
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