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Kate Hilder

My teaching style
I focus on encouraging an atmosphere of exploration and playfulness as I believe that creativity blossoms when we are enjoying ourselves. I like to create space for people to discover and articulate what interests them both about their own work and as a watcher of others. When improvising it is important that we are fascinated by our moment-by-moment experience – it’s through becoming aware of how we act that new choices occur; we find ourselves in unfamiliar places where we no longer rely on our habits.

How I came to improvisation
I came to improvisation with a desire to express myself through my body and voice, having spent 10 years working in offices in London. While walking down a street in San Francisco 14 years ago I bumped into a man dressed in red who told me that improvisation is about saying ‘yes’. This man was Sten Rudstrøm and he became my first Action Theater™ teacher. I remember the first time I improvised solo with words (something which terrified me) – it felt like the shell that I had created around myself was cracking and years of suppressed expression was beginning to find its way through.

On my return to London I met Ruth Zaporah, the pioneer of Action Theater™, and so began many years of extensive training both with Ruth and with Sten in California, New Mexico and London. In 2005 I became the first certified Action Theater teacher in the UK and am now an Advanced Teacher of this form.

Other influences
As well as my training in Action Theatre I have worked with and been influenced by many other teachers of movement-based theatre including Al Wunder and Andrew Morrish and with Roy Hart Theatre voice teachers and contact improvisors such as Kirstie Simson. My teaching is also influenced by my Vipassana meditation practice and my experience of the Feldenkrais Method.  I am a qualified Feldenkrais Practitioner and teach group classes and individual lessons in East Sussex.  See the UK Feldenkrais website for more info.

Where I’ve Taught
I’ve been teaching weekly classes in London and Brighton for the past 10 years and once a term I lead an improvisation class for Independent Dance at Siobhan Davies Studios.  I’ve taught Performing Arts students at Chichester University, University of Swansea and at Rose Bruford College, and dancers at London Contemporary Dance School, Tanzfabrik in Berlin and at Fontys Dance Academy in Holland.

I perform solo, duet with Seke Chimutengwende and ensemble with EAT, the European Action Theatre performance collective. I have performed improvisations at Noore Tantsu festival in Estonia, Escapade Improvisation Festival and the Greenwich Dance Agency cabaret in London, SHIFTI Improvisation Festival in Warwick, at the Balhaus and Tanzfabrik in Berlin and the National Theatre Academy in Helsinki.  I am currently working with Molayo, an international collective of dancers, actors, acrobats and musicians led by the superb G.Hoffmann Soto.

As an ongoing commitment to bringing improvisation to a wider audience, I co-ordinate improvisation workshops and performances for artists from around the globe who are masters in the field of movement and voice improvisation. Go to the Events page for more info.

Kate is truly excellent at creating a safe space, an atmosphere that is relaxed, spacious and accepting

Photographer and Performer