hillary-marie

tap dance artist

official website

Artist Statement

As a kid, I was determined to become a jazz dancer and drummer, so it wasn’t surprising that I would grow up to combine vernacular movement and rhythm to become a tap dancer. Music and dance are the universal languages of the world and being able to participate in both simultaneously as a percussive dancer is powerful. I strive to be a unique story-teller by combining tap dance choreography and improvisation in collaboration with live music.  I truly feel that music and dance can connect with people in a way that our words can’t. When people see my work, I want an energy transference to occur: I want people to lose themselves, to find resolve for their current frustrations, the drive to follow their aspirations, the joy they’re searching for and overall the missing component that they’re seeking in their day-to-day lives. 
 
Every piece or full-length show is born from a wild dream where I see the music, its color, its shape, its story. From there, I sort my thoughts in my notepad and then bring them to life as the work takes on a physical form. My conceptualized pieces hover around personal experiences with relatable topics of young love, heartbreak, unexplainable joy, loneliness, frustration and friendship. Other pieces focus on rhythmic concepts, grooves and introverted exploration. 
 
My current work challenges the notion that tap dance is a dying, underground, indigestible art form. I’ve thrown aside the top hat, tuxedo and cane of vaudeville to bring to life my definition of the modern day tap dancer because I believe that rhythm is a universal language and tribal instinct that all of us understand. By approaching tap dance as both a musical instrument and visual performance art, I desire to embark on a musical dance odyssey, an ultimate form of storytelling. 
 
The results so far have been a beautiful, personal experience and journey that I love to share.


AWARDS / RESIDENCIES

2017 Individual Artist Fellowship - New Jersey State Council on the Arts

2017 COLAB Arts Choreography Residency


NOTABLE PERFORMANCES

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The Wycliffe Gordon, award-winning Trombonist
Marvin Hamlisch, award-winning Composer
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

Emily Braden, Soul Walk The Show

Nancy Harmes, Hallelujah

Jennifer Vincent, Habanera

Carolyn Dorfman Dance, Up Close & Personal
Rhythm is Our Business, Director Derick K. Grant
Rhythm in the Night, Boston Tap Company
W-L-U-V, Director Christopher Scott
Gabriel Hermida, Argentinian Guitarist
Conversations, Director Heather Cornell

New Dance Alliance, Director Roxane Butterfly
Harlem Stage’s E-Moves
Jazzaponics
JC Hopkins Biggish Band
Nat Adderley Jr, award-winning Pianist
Princeton Symphony Orchestra
New Jersey Symphony Orchestra
Sonnets on Tap, Director Awoye Timpo


COMPANIES

Hillary-Marie's Sole Music Collective (Director since 2015)
FutureSTEP Tap Company (Director since 2016)
Grooves Unlimited Dance Studio (Director since 2012)
A.C.G.I., Director Jason Samuels Smith
Sophisticated Ladies, Director Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards
The Above Ground Project, Director Maurice Chestnut
Tap Phonics, Director Lisa LaTouche
NJTAP Ensemble, Director Deborah Mitchell

FESTIVALS AND CONVENTIONS

Rock City Tap Fest, Ohio (2016, 2018)

JAM Project, DC (2017, 2018)

Paris Tap Crew, France (2015, 2018)

Escola Luthier de Dansa, Spain (2018)

Old Kent Road, UK (2018)

Claque Tap Studio, Spain (2018)

Lindy Focus, North Carolina (2014, 2016-2017)
Big Apple Tap Festival, NYC (2014-2015, 2017)
Westobou Festival (2017)
CTTap Collective (2014-2017)
Dance On The Lawn (2017)
Resonance Tap Convention (2017)
NADAA, Greater NY Chapter (2015-2017)
Jersey Tap Fest, New Jersey (director since 2010)
BOGOTap, Colombia (2017)
NJHS Dance Festival (2017)
New Dance Alliance, NYC (2016)
The Krazy Tap, Taiwan (2016)
MadTap, Spain (2015)
Jimmy Slyde Institute, Spain (2015)
House of Hoofing, Sweden (2015)
Centro De Danza, Honduras (2015)
Tap Ahead Festival, Germany (2014)
Cien Ritmos un Paso, Guatemala (2014)
Anguilla Jazz Boat, Anguilla (2013)
Philly Tap Challenge, Pennsylvania (2011, 2013)


TELEVISION/COMMERCIAL/PRINT

The Power of Times Square (Anchor Light)
30 Rock (NBC)
Inside New York City Dance (MMN)
The Colbert Report (Comedy Central)
SwiftXKey (Android Central)

A VISION in rhythm...

Hillary-Marie is a tap dance artist, a visual music maker who celebrates music and dance as the universal languages of the world. One of the most accomplished tap dance artists and tap dance producers in America, she is an award-winning, internationally acclaimed soloist and at age 17 founded Jersey Tap Fest, named the Best Place to See Live Dance Performances in New Jersey by New Jersey Stage. She is also the director of FutureSTEP Tap Company, Hillary-Marie’s Sole Music Collective, Grooves Unlimited Dance Studio and iTapOnline. She has served as Adjunct Professor at Montclair State University and guest faculty at Alvin Ailey and STEPS. In 2017, she received an Individual Artist Fellowship in Choreography from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, one of their most competitive awards.


A native of New Jersey, Hillary-Marie has been recognized by and featured in the New York Times, Star Ledger, Dance Studio Life Magazine, Dance Spirit Magazine and Dance Teacher Magazine. She has given a TedXTalk about her artist-entrepreneur experience and has traveled the world as a featured soloist at the Apollo Theater, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Highline Ballroom, Copacabana, NJ State Theater, NJPAC, SOPAC, Symphony Space, Westobou Festival as well as Tap and Jazz festivals in Europe, Central America, Asia and throughout the U.S. For many years, she performed weekly at Harlem’s Cotton Club as a part of Bessie-award winner Dormeshia Sumbry Edwards’ group “Sophisticated Ladies”, and previously worked with Emmy-award winning artist Jason Samuels Smith (A.C.G.I.) as well as Derick K. Grant (Rhythm Is Our Business). She has performed with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and with trombonist Wycliffe Gordon. Before his death she performed with award-winning composer of A Chorus Line, Marvin Hamlisch, and has danced with Heather Cornell (Conversations), Roxane Butterfly (New Dance Alliance), Maurice Chestnut (Above Ground Project), Christopher Scott (W-L-U-V), Lisa LaTouche (Tap Phonics), the Boston Tap Company (Rhythm in the Night), the NJTAP Dance Ensemble, Nat Adderley Jr., and both the Princeton and New Jersey Symphony Orchestras.


Hillary-Marie’s dancing has been described as ‘like feathers with steel bones’ due to her combination of strength and grace.