Hillary-Marie is one of the most accomplished tap dance artists and producers in America. She is an internationally acclaimed soloist and ensemble member and at age 17 founded the Jersey Tap Fest, New Jersey’s sole dance festival featuring world-class tap faculty and extravaganza. Hillary-Marie’s dancing has been described as ‘like feathers with steel bones’ due to her combination of strength and grace. She has also been called ‘a brilliant artist’. A native of New Jersey currently based in NYC, Hillary-Marie has been recognized by and featured in Dance Studio Life Magazine, Dance Spirit Magazine and Dance Teacher Magazine. She has performed on The Colbert Report and has appeared at the Smithsonian, Apollo Theater, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Highline Ballroom, The Copacabana, NJ STATE Theater, NJPAC, SOPAC, and Symphony Space among many other prestigious venues along the American east coast.
Hillary-Marie has given a TedXTalk about how she became a successful entrepreneur and artist and did the tap sounds for an episode of 30 Rock that featured character Jenna Maroney played by actress Jane Krakowski. She has traveled the world as a featured soloist at the Tap Ahead Festival (Germany), Cien Pasos un Ritmo (Guatemala), Anguilla Jazz Boat (Anguilla), Jimmy Slyde Institute and MadTap (Spain), House of Hoofing (Sweden), Paris Tap Crew (France), CCDanza (Honduras) and the Big Apple Tap Festival (NYC) among many others, and also performs weekly at Harlem’s Cotton Club which – a key venue during the Harlem Renaissance during the 1920s and 30s – as a part of Bessie- award winner Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards’ group “Sophisticated Ladies”.
Writing about Soul Walk, Hillary-Marie’s debut full length show, renowned dance critic Robert Johnson said: ‘Some performers travel with their own atmosphere, a rosy bubble that floats off the stage and envelops the crowd allowing grateful viewers to forget where they are. ‘Tap dancer Hillary-Marie and her accomplices do that.’
Hillary-Marie began her dance training at the age of five at her local dance studio in New Jersey. By the age of 12 she was appearing in 11 shows a week in the pre- professional company ‘Showstopper’s’ at the Edward Nash Theater. Hillary’s studies continued with Karen Callaway Williams, whose credits include Tony Award Nominated Duke Ellington musical PlayOn. In 2006 Hillary became a member of the New Jersey Tap Ensemble’s youth company and just three years later became principal dancer for the company under the direction of Deborah Mitchell. From 2007 until his death in 2013 Hillary- Marie was mentored by and assistant to the vaudeville legend Dr. Harold ‘Stumpy’ Cromer, half of the world-famous duet ‘Stump & Stumpy’, sharing bill with the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra.
Hillary-Marie has 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), Maurice Chestnut (Above Ground Project), Christopher Scott (W-L-U-V), the Boston Tap Company (Rhythm in the Night), Nat Adderley Jr., and both the Princeton and New Jersey Symphony Orchestras.
Hillary-Marie feels that artists are the messengers of the world, and is humbled to have the opportunity to share her gift with audiences. She is thankful for the artists of the past and present who have provided and continue to provide abundant inspiration and encouragement, and she is focused on serving tap dance by uniting the tap community, teaching its history, preserving its percussive and improvisational style, expanding the respect for the art and promoting the dance as a cherished American art form.
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