Five College Professor of Dance
Professor Hill has taught at the Alvin Ailey School of American Dance, Conservatoire d'arts Dramatique in Paris, and New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. As a choreographer, director, and mask specialist, she has worked with the French playwright Eugene Ionesco; Czech scenographer Josef Svoboda; Romanian director Liviu Ciulei, and Toni Morrison on her play Dreaming Emmett, directed by Gilbert Moses. Her writings have appeared in such publications as Dance Magazine, Village Voice, Dance Research Journal, Studies in Dance History; Discourses in Dance, and in such edited anthologies as Moving Words: Re-Writing Dance; Dancing Many Drums: Excavations in African-American Dance; Ballroom, Boogie, Shimmy Sham, Shake: A Social and Popular Dance Reader; Taken By Surprise: A Dance Improvisation Reader, and Kaiso! Writings By and About Katherine Dunham. Her book, Brotherhood in Rhythm: The Jazz Tap Dancing of the Nicholas Brothers(2000) received the Deems Taylor ASCAP Award; and her most recent book, Tap Dancing America, A Cultural History (2010), for which she received the Tap Preservation Award from the American Tap Dance Foundation, was supported by grants from the John D. Rockefeller and John Simon Guggenheim foundations.
As a Five College Professor of Dance at Hampshire College, Professor Hill teaches courses in dance history, performance theory, jazz studies, choreography on camera, and feminist performance; and is working with her colleagues to establish a black studies core curriculum.
This class intertwines the philosophy and practice of yoga, and takes the form of a traditional yoga class that consists of opening chanting, asana, conscious breathing, and meditation, with an opening Dharma talk focusing on yogic history and philosophy. We will learn a style of yoga based on the vinyasa krama teachings of Tirumalai Krishnamarycharya, the so-called father of modern yoga who is credited with the revival of hatha yoga and with being the architect of vinyasa yoga, conjoining breath an movement. Students will be introduced to the universal connection of the flow of prana (life-force) and to a holistic, energetic approach to vinyasa as more than a technique or style of yoga but a way of guiding the flow of our body, practice, and life. Major texts will include: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (translated by Sri Swami Satchidananda); The Secret Power of Yoga, by Nischala Joy Devi; Bhagavad Gita (translated by Stephen Mitchell); and The Heart of Yoga, T.K. V. Desikachar.
Embellishing upon Ralph Ellison's astute remark that much in American life is "jazz shaped," this course examines the influence of black musical traditions on American dance concert dance. We will focus on the relationship between jazz music and dance, looking at how jazz rhythm, improvisation, call-and-response patterning and elements of swing altered the line, attack, speed, weight, and phrasing of contemporary dance forms. Learning how to listen to the music will be crucial to recognizing how jazz became the motive and method for shaping a distinctly black modernist aesthetic. We will focus in large part on the jazzographies of Alvin Ailey and his contemporaries. Ailey collaborated with such various classically-trained jazz musicians as Charles Mingus, Max Roach, Dizzy Gillespie, Alice Coltrane, Mary Lou Williams, and Keith Jarrett, but the bulk of his so-called jazz works were created to the music by Duke Ellington. While we will survey dance works created by numerous choreographers to the music of the blues, swing, bebop, cool jazz, and hard bop, we will also look at vocal choreographies to rhythm and blues (Motown) as well as to hip hop and jukin', whose roots lie in the jazz tradition.