Dance – an education of deep self-knowing and interpersonal discovery; an embodied site for cross-cultural awareness, understanding and greater global interconnectedness. My pedagogy begins with a deep consideration of self, a growing awareness of our being in the world, of noticing, and of mindful attention. From this base of well-being, a layering of intentionality, emotionality, idea and concept can occur and then shaped, formed and expressed through conscious movement.
Dance – through the process of embodied education, a site for deepened cultural expression, cross-cultural understanding, and the potential for embedded life-long learning processes and curiosity about the world around us.
Raewyn Hill was born in Oamaru (1972) and spent her childhood in the smaller towns of the South Island of New Zealand. At age 11 years Raewyn found herself a paper round to fund her own ballet lessons, so it was no surprise that her tenacity was rewarded by being accepted into the prestigious New Zealand School of Dance (NZSD), leaving home at the age of 15. Spending her formative years in Wellington at NZSD, she graduated in 1992 with the Best All Round Student Award. Raewyn was subsequently named on the NZSD distinguished Honours Board in recognition of her commitment to dance in New Zealand in 2002.
Trained in classical ballet, over her career Raewyn became one of New Zealand’s foremost dance practitioners and pioneers. From 2001 to 2009, Raewyn led her own company Soapbox Productions / Raewyn Hill and Dancers where she employed over 150 dancers and leading artists. Her work in New Zealand led her from the stage to the screen where she performed and choreographed for TV and film, including Xena, TVNZ series Rude Awakenings, BBCs Lost World, and as advisor for New Zealand’s So You Think You Can Dance. This profile on-screen continued in 2012 with Raewyn included in Virtuosi, a documentary by Sue Healey on six New Zealand dancers with significant international careers in dance.
Raewyn’s career highlights include the first New Zealander to be programmed to perform their solo show at Sydney Opera House [When Love Comes Calling, 2004], to be appointed as Artistic Director of two major Government funded Australian dance companies [Dancenorth, 2010 – 2015, Co3 Contemporary Dance 2015 – present], the first New Zealand (and second only international) choreographer commissioned by the Bolshoi Ballet Academy [Vespers, 2009], the first New Zealander to be artist-in-residence at both the Cite Internationale des Arts [Paris, 2009 & 2011] and the Baryshnikov Arts Centre [New York City, 2010]. From 2007 to 2009, Raewyn was Artist-in-Resident, School of Dance, at The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. During her time in Hong Kong, Raewyn’s work was commissioned by the Hong Kong International Arts Festival, and appeared at the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens. In addition, Raewyn has taught and / or choreographed at a number of the world’s leading institutions including The Juilliard School (New York), Beijing Dance Academy (China), and Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (Perth).
Raewyn’s work has been presented by festivals and venues worldwide, including New Zealand arts festivals – Auckland, Nelson, Christchurch, Tauranga, Taupo and Dunedin; in Australia at Brisbane Arts Festival, Brisbane Power House, Centre of Contemporary Arts (Cairns), Sydney Opera House, Ten Days on the Island (Tasmania); and internationally at Hong Kong International Arts Festival, Peter Sharpe Theatre (New York), Bolshoi Theatre (Russia), Baryshnikov Arts Centre (New York), and National Arts Centre (Tokyo).
After a world-wide search Raewyn was appointed the Founding Artistic Director of Co3 Contemporary Dance in 2015. Since joining Co3 Contemporary Dance, Raewyn has been instrumental in developing the strategy in creating a world-class contemporary company. She has continued to create innovative, high level partnerships and programs including West Australian Institute of Sport, Edith Cowan University, WAAPA, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and Hassell Architect Studios. In her first year at Co3 Contemporary Dance, Raewyn initiated a two-year partnership with Art Gallery Western Australia and was awarded a prestigious twelve-week artistic residency at Tokyo Wonder Site, Tokyo in 2016.
In 2017, Raewyn return to Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Dance Department as a Visiting Artist. She also travelled to Japan as a Delegate of Australia Council to attend Tokyo Performing Arts Market and later that year created and premiered a full length worked called THE ZONE, with world renowned Japanese architect Satoshi Okada joining the creative team as set designer. THE ZONE was described as ‘a distinct spectacular’, ‘a mesmerizing experience’, astonishing audiences and receiving five-star media reviews. In December 2017 Edith Cowan University completed a year-long post-doctoral study into her unique training program for professional dancers. She is Co-author of “Sustaining dancer health and wellbeing in a casualised contemporary dance industry” Co-author: Hopper, Blevins, Longbottom, Hendry, Erskine, & Hill. (publication pending) Work, employment, and society, 2018 THE BRITISH SOCIOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION.
In 2018, she was nominated in the Australian Dance Awards for Services to Dance Education; Outstanding Achievement in Choreography for THE ZONE; and Outstanding Performance by a Female Dancer for GOOD LITTLE SOLDIER (Ochre Contemporary Dance Company). 2019 marked a high point in Co3’s status as a new voice in Australian dance with the critically acclaimed presentation of THE LINE, in collaboration with Mark Howett. Raewyn was awarded the prestigious Saison Foundation Fellowship, being resident in Tokyo for 10 weeks to study Butoh with the late Yoshito Ohno.
In 2021, on the back of one of the most challenging periods in the arts, Raewyn created the highly acclaimed ARCHIVES OF HUMANITY, commissioned and presented as part of the 2021 Perth Festival. It received eight Performing Arts WA Award nominations, winning three for Outstanding Ensemble (Dance), Best Mainstage Production (Dance), Outstanding Stage Design (Design).
In 2023 Raewyn’s life and career was added to the National Archives of Australia.