VIFF 2014: Miss Hill: Making Dance Matter charts an icon

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      Miss Hill: Making Dance Matter (USA)  

      What begins as a documentary about Martha Hill, an unassuming old dance professor in oversized glasses and a bun, opens up into an exhaustive, probing look at both the unsung icon and the history of the art form in America. The film argues, persuasively, through a rich archive of photos, scratchy videos, and interviews, that New York’s late, legendary “Miss Hill” was a key figure in modern dance. Though she grew up in a town where dance was considered a sin, she went on to push the form away from physical education and into the realm of fine arts at schools and helped nourish its trailblazers (everyone from Ohad Naharin to Pina Bausch). You won’t believe how contemporary her own work looks today. With links to Martha Graham, George Balanchine, and others, Miss Hill has a story that’s essential education for dance artists and their most devoted fans.

      Vancity Theatre, October 1 (9:30 p.m.); SFU, October 3 (1:30 p.m.); Cinematheque, October 10 (10 a.m.) 

      Follow Janet Smith on Twitter at @janetsmitharts.