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"Miss Hill"'s video poster

The unknown story of Martha Hill- a courageous woman who fought for over 70 years to establish Modern Dance as a legitimate art form. Read more

New York, NY Documentary
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This project was successfully funded on October 30, 2012.

The unknown story of Martha Hill- a courageous woman who fought for over 70 years to establish Modern Dance as a legitimate art form.

New York, NY Documentary
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About this project


Having passed our goal with 11 days left to the campaign, we obviously underestimated the incredible dance community that Martha Hill spent a lifetime building. Our quick success and the enthusiasm behind this campaign is a testament to the long-lasting influence Martha Hill still has on all those with which she shared her intense love, knowledge, and passion for dance. 

As stated below, we are seeking a total of $80,000 (now $70,000) to complete post-production of the film. We are pursuing other fundraising opportunities, but now that we realize how willing and able everyone is to donate to this community effort, we hope that we can continue to get closer to our final goal via KICKSTARTER. 

Martha Hill's dance community is actively creating a film that will not only be an entertaining  and beautiful document of an incredible woman, but will also secure her place as an important historical figure of the 20th century, and encourage others to live a life dedicated to something larger than themselves. 


Students, friends and alumni from all over the world, once banded together to keep Martha Hill and her Juilliard Dance Department intact  – help us tell that chapter and her entire struggle to elevate dance as a legitimate art form.

OUR GOAL: To complete post production, tell the powerful story and create an enduring film that strikes a chord not only with dance lovers, dancers and dance educators, but also for anyone who has been dedicated to something larger than themselves.

OUR MISSION: To enlist all those whom she touched through her 60+ years of seeing, teaching, mentoring and producing dance and dancers- to help tell her behind-the-scenes story that is layered with the stories of those she touched which resonate to others with selfless dedication to a dream.

We need your help to raise the final money through our Kickstarter campaign to complete this film.  All donations are tax deductible.


If we raise $10,000 or more during the next 45 days, we'll receive your pledge and put it to work completing the picture and sound editing of our documentary film, Miss Hill, and help pay for the expensive, but beautiful archival footage rights.

Kickstarter will only charge your credit card if we meet or surpass that goal. It’s all or nothing.

Please donate what you can and share the Kickstarter link with friends and family. Thank you!


We are a group of dancers and dance makers who have never produced a film before, collaborating with an awesome young professional team(a director, an editor, a cinematographer).  We have been raising funds the old fashion way for nearly 10 years, yes 10 years to make this film – from individuals, small donation by small donation and have raised and spent two thirds of the projected budget.   We are asking for your help for $10,000 (or more) to help get us started toward the $80,000 we project we need for post production and archival footage rights.


We have been shooting and editing "Miss Hill" for the past 2 years and have recently completed a 60 minute rough cut of the film! The money raised in this campaign will help us complete a final cut.


In the beginning of the 20th century America was becoming one of the industrial powers of the world and struggling to understand the concept of freedom within a capitalistic industrial society. This struggle was reflected in art through movements and images that broke away from European themes and started to reflect images of the American experience.

This is the America that Martha Hill, a young woman, from a small town in Ohio, was growing into. All of this reflected in her own struggle to express herself unto the world and break away from the harsh realities of a strict religious upbringing. One night while living in the bohemian Greenwich Village of New York City, she went to a solo concert of an unknown artist, Martha Graham. She witnessed a new form of movement and from that moment on dedicated her life to learning, teaching, and spreading the possibilities of this new art form.

Hill began as a performer in Graham’s company but realized that her life was not destined for stardom, and that she was most needed behind the scenes, creating institutions that would facilitate the growth of dance by building an audience and cultivating future artists. At the time, dance was treated as nothing more than physical education for young women.

In the midst of the Great Depression, Martha Hill started the Bennington School of Dance, a summer program at a new progressive college in the mountains of Vermont. She invited the young, ground breaking choreographers Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, Charles Weidman, and Hanya Holm, and together they established a major new art form, a totally new language of personal expression. This new movement of dance broke away from the ideas of European ballet drastically, it was not about effortlessness and airiness, it was about physical force and tension and the movements and expressions of the individual.

It was here at Bennington College, under the leadership of Martha Hill, that Modern Dance became a cohesive and legitimate American art form, and over the next 60 years of Hill’s career moved throughout the world forever changing the art of dance and establishing a legitimate form of Dance Education that spread to almost every major institution in the country.

Within every challenge of Martha Hill's life, be it her childhood search for freedom of expression or her great battle to save the Juilliard School of Dance in a dramatic political struggle over the resources, real estate and control of Lincoln Center, her perseverance was always guided by her passion and belief in dance. “Miss Hill” seamlessly interweaves archival footage, voices, dances, and movement of the past with that of the present through interviews and performance footage of Hill’s former students, now internationally known choreographers, educators and dancers, to become a dance through time that tells a story that ultimately transcends dance itself. A story of a commitment to something larger than ourselves and how that type of selfless dedication can have a long lasting impact on the world.


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    7 backers

    EVERYONE: a thank you on our Facebook page

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    9 backers

    STUDENT OF DANCE: A big shout out on our Martha Hill Documentary Facebook page

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    27 backers

    IMPROV-ER: above + digital letter of thanks and listing as a backer on our website!

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    13 backers

    DANCE PROFESSIONAL: above + secret and private code for link to rough cut of film before its relased!

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    24 backers

    SOLOISTS: above + DVD of completed documentary!

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    5 backers Limited (3 left of 8)

    ****NEW AWARD****as of 10/8/12******************

    2 tickets to New York Theater Ballet in the newly renovated Florence Gould Hall, 55 East 59th Street. Featured ballets are:

    Dark Elegies/ Antony Tudor
    Rondo/Jerome Robbins
    Light Flooding Into Darkened Rooms/Richard Alston
    New ballets by Pam Tanowitz and Gemma Bond
    Moor's Pavane/Jose Limon
    Dance from Brigadoon, Carousel and Oklahoma/Agnes deMille

    Dates are February 22 & 23
    March 22 & 23
    April 19 & 20
    May 24 & 25

    One pair of tickets to each performance is available. First come, first served performance date availabiltiy. No transportaion is provided. Not included in other reward levels

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    5 backers

    PRINCIPLE: above +"still" from the film signed by the director

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    Pledge $180 or more

    3 backers

    STAR: above + 2 tickets to private screening of rough cut with Q&A with director in NYC (no transportation or accomodations provided)

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    Pledge $300 or more

    0 backers Limited (4 left of 4)

    NEW REWARD--- The director of MISS HILL, Greg Vander Veer, will film your next dance performance, rehearsal, class or any other event that you would like professionally documented. Travel costs not included if outside the NYC area.

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    Pledge $355 or more

    2 backers Limited (8 left of 10)

    TEACHER: above +1 copy of one of two books about Martha Hill. "The Contributions of Martha Hill to American Dance and Dance Education, 1900-1995" by Elizabeth McPherson OR Martha Hill and the Making of American Dance by Janet Mansfield Soares

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    Pledge $500 or more

    1 backer

    PATRON: above (not including books) + 1 complimentary ticket to the annual Martha Hill Awards Dinner in NYC (no transportaion or accomodations provided) November 26, 2012

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    Pledge $1,000 or more

    2 backers

    GOLDEN BENEFACTOR: above (not including books) + listing in film credits as Golden Benefactor and special toast with all our producing team, director, editor and cinematographer

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    0 backers Limited (4 left of 4)

    NEW REWARD--MINI-DOCUMENTARY: Director of MISS HILL, Greg Vander Veer, will create an innovative and professional 5 minute mini-documentary of your dance company, class, or any other event that you would like to transform into an exciting film. Travel not included outside of NYC area and limited to 2 days of filming.

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Funding period

- (45 days)