DIRECTOR. CHOREOGRAPHER. ACTOR. ACTIVIST.
Hettie Barnhill is a Broadway actress, a director, a choreographer, and the founder of ‘Create A Space NOW’ an interactive social justice platform that uses performing arts and multimedia to further discussion around #blacklivesmatter and the recent events and race relations in America. Her film, A Love Letter to Brian, Lesley, and Michelle, has been selected and awarded in festivals currently showing nationally and internationally and honored by the California Senate with a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition, "Using Film as a Vehicle For Community Engagement and Education" by Congressman Ro Khanna and California Senator Bob Wieckowski. Nominated for a New York Innovative Theater Award for Outstanding Choreography, Hettie has performed nationally and internationally on Television, Film, and on Broadway in the productions "Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark," Tony Award-winning "FELA!" (original cast), and the Tony award-nominated "Leap Of Faith" (original cast).
As an educator, Hettie, opened ‘Movement & Characters’, a school dedicated to providing industry-level, professional classes in the performing arts for students of all ages, levels, and financial backgrounds, operating in Greater New York & New York City, sharing her love for dance and exploring how to create spaces where form and technique are being learned, perspective is being shared, culture is being experienced, and history is being discussed. In addition, she has taught at several Colleges and Universities including: As the Visiting Artist-In-Residence in Dance at Skidmore College in Saratoga, NY, Visiting Assistant Professor of Theater and Dance at Nazareth College in Rochester, NY, and Stephens College in Columbia, MO. She has also been a Guest Artist at the University Of Rochester, Suny Potsdam, Suny Brockport, Suny New Paltz, and Sam Houston State University. Hettie has also taught at dance at The Mark Morris School Brooklyn NY, JCC Triple Threat NJ, Mohonk Mountain House, New Paltz, NY, and Encore Dance Competition for the Stars, NJ ( judge). Hettie graduated from Columbia College Chicago and is currently earning her MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts, Performance Creation Concentration focusing on Art and Activism, from Goddard College.
Using art as therapy, Hettie has received awards for her outreach and service in communities, including; The NAACP's "Top 21 Leaders 40 & Under Award" In The Fields Of Arts & Culture, Twice Honored As A "Rising Star" By The Young & Powerful For Obama Group, The Shirley Chisholm "Women Of Excellence." Since 2006, Hettie has worked with A Long Walk Home Inc., a nonprofit organization that uses art therapy and the visual and performing arts to document, educate and bring about social change for survivors of rape and violence. Other selected credits include; the NYIT Award nom. A Cabaret At The End Of The World (choreographer), The Metropolitan Opera’s Romeo & Juliet, Elektra, and Lulu, Dallas Theater Center’s “FLY” A New Musical, Face-Off Unlimited Improv NYC’s Batsu, Pillow Fight (choreographer) The St. Louis MUNY Opera’s Hairspray, Aida, Camelot and Meet Me In St. Louis. Riverside Theater’s La Cage Aux Follies and St. Louis Black Rep, Guys & Dolls. Television and Film; Law & Order SVU, The Knick, and King Bolden.
Hettie began dancing at Pelagie Green Wren Dance Academy when she was three years old and later at the Katherine Dunham Center of Performing Arts School. She is a graduate of COCA Pre-Professional Program & COCAdance and a 2002 graduate of Central Visual Performing Arts High School of St. Louis, Missouri. During high school, she spent her summers as a student at The Alvin Ailey Theater.
BROADWAY: SPIDERMAN-TURN OFF THE DARK, LEAP OF FAITH, FELA!
REGIONAL: (selected few) Fly (Tree) Dallas Theater Center in Dallas TX, Hairspray (Lorraine) The St. Louis Muny Opera, Surrender-Off Broadway (Drama Desk 2009 Nominee)The Ohio Theater NY, LaCage Aux Folles (Bitelle, Colette) The Arvada Center in Arvada CO and The Riverside Theater in Vera Beach FL, Guys&Dolls (Mimi) St Louis Black Rep, Aida , Meet Me in St. Louis, My Fair Lady, and Camelot, St. Louis MUNY Opera.
TV/FILM & OTHER: Bolden (2015), The Knick, Law and Order, Metropolitan Opera, Face-Off Unlimited, BET HONORS, PBS Josephine Baker, Fashion Rocks NBC, Second City-Chicago IL, Black Label Movement-Minnesota MN, Arroja-Lisbon Portugal, The Kennedy Center-Washington DC and Amici-Roma Italy.
CHOREOGRAPHY: (selected few) NYIT Award (nomination) A Cabaret At The End Of The World, NBC, MTV, VH1, BET, International Wow Theater, 60x60, Solar One, The Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival, The Ailey School and Dance Chicago. Being immersed in a jazz/blues influenced area, Hettie translates her environment and upbringing into her movement almost flawlessly. Her creative movement is a vision that everyone should experience.
AWARDS & HONORS
CALIFORNIA SENATE 2021 OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT AND EDUCATION.
NAZARETH COLLEGE 2019 PRESIDENT’S FACULTY COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD
NEW YORK INNOVATIVE THEATER AWARD NOMINEE “OUTSTANDING CHOREOGRAPHY”
THE NAACP "TOP 21 LEADERS 40 & UNDER AWARD" IN THE FIELDS OF "ARTS & CULTURE
TWICE HONORED AS A "RISING STAR" BY THE YOUNG & POWERFUL FOR OBAMA GROUP
THE SHIRLEY CHISHOLM "WOMEN OF EXCELLENCE" AWARD
FRED & ADELE ESTAIRE AWARD 2010 "BEST FEMALE DANCE ENSEMBLE IN A BROADWAY SHOW"
TWICE HONORED "WHO'S WHO OF AMERICAN COLLEGES & UNIVERSITIES"
HONORARY MEMBER OF SIGMA GAMMA RHO SORORITY
Cultivating Curiosity 2017 | NYC Dept. of Youth & Community
In 2017 & 2018, Movement & Characters had the honor of teaching over 150 students at 10 different sites throughout Brooklyn, Harlem, Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx. This opportunity and experience have been true soul food and I am forever grateful to have met all of these wonderful kids. Thank you to the #NYC Department of Youth & Community Development and the #CultivatingCuriosity program! Take a second and watch this incredible video by MOKM Creative Services documenting my summer with these superstars :)
Check out an article
I Wrote for SOULCYCLE!
"I celebrate the diversity that makes my room come alive
every week. To truly celebrate our differences,
we must start with ourselves." - Hettie Barnhill