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 in New Jersey by New Jersey Stage. Hillary-Marie is also the co-owner and Artistic Director of the Tap Dance Program at Grooves Unlimited Dance Studio, established in 2012, the only dance studio in the United States to be entirely dedicated to Hip-Hop and Tap Dance, home of FutureSTEP Tap Company, a pre-professional tap dance company for tap dancers ages 10-25. Hillary-Marie’s collaborative group Hillary-Marie’s Sole Music Collective has been touring together since 2015 and she has also been educating tap dancers and tap teachers around the world via iTapOnline.com since 2016. She has served as Adjunct Professor at Montclair State University and guest faculty at Alvin Ailey and STEPS.
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’ and in 2017 received an Individual Artist Fellowship in Choreography from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, one of their most competitive awards, and is currently a Jersey (New) Moves Fellow at NJPAC (2019-2022).
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 performed on The Colbert Report, for Estee Lauder and 30 Rock, and has given a TedxTalk about her experience as an artist-entrepreneur. Hillary-Marie has appeared at the Apollo Theater, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Highline Ballroom, Copacabana, NJ State Theater, NJPAC, SOPAC, Symphony Space, many other prestigious theatrical and live music venues along the American east coast, 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.
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’. She has since premiered Hillary-Marie’s Sole Music Collective and an additional full-length work titled VIBE – a celebration of tap dance as a universal energy and language of the world; a show that Dance Metro DC says ‘serves as a springboard for locating tap dance within a concert dance context… serving to truly bring the house down.’ Hillary-Marie’s Sole Music Collective is also host to the #Herspective video series. Within Sole Music Collective, Hillary-Marie has collaborated with vocalists Emily Braden and Nancy Harmes, bassist Jennifer Vincent, pianists Mark G. Meadows and Willerm Delisfort, and singer-songwriter Ami Madeleine.
Hillary-Marie began her dance training with Jazz dance at the age of five at her local dance studio in New Jersey, and started studying tap dance at age twelve. By the age of fourteen, she was appearing in eleven shows a week in the pre-professional company ‘Showstoppers’ at the Edwards Nash Theatre. Her studies continued with Karen Callaway Williams, whose credits include Tony Award Nominated Duke Ellington musical Play On! In 2006, Hillary-Marie became a member of the New Jersey Tap Ensemble’s youth company and just three years later became a 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 strives to increase public awareness and appreciation of tap dance as an instrument through the universal language of music.