Hilary Roberts, Founder and Artistic Director Emeritus
Jubilee's Founder and Aristic Director Emeritus Hilary Roberts has been involved in the international and regional American folk dance communities, both in the Bay Area and in New York City, since 1968. She has participated in many capacities; dancer, choreographer, teacher, panelist, advocate and artistic director. From 1979-1986, Ms. Roberts was a performer and company assistant with the Tomov Yugoslav Folk Ensemble of New York City, and from 1984-1986 was an invited dancer with the Guszaly Hungarian Dance Ensemble, also of New York City. Upon moving to the Bay Area in 1986, she joined Westwind International Folk Ensemble as a dancer and singer, and from 1989-1997 held the position of Artistic Director for Westwind. In 1994, Ms. Roberts joined Forgatos Hungarian Dance Ensemble and danced with them through 1996. She founded her own company, Jubilee American Dance Theatre in 1999, for which she was also Artistic Director until stepping down at the end of June 2009.In addition to working with these companies, Ms. Roberts has studied and taught many forms of dance throughout her lifetime which include the intensive study of dances from Scandinavia, Hungary, Bulgaria, all the former Yugoslav republics as well as regional American folk and popular dances. She has toured and performed in Eastern and Western Europe and Mexico as Artistic Director and dancer as well as participated in numerous cultural dance exchanges abroad. In the cities and villages of Poland, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and Hungary, Ms. Roberts studied the local dance forms in exchange for teaching regional and social dances from the United States.
As a director, Ms. Roberts has had the honor of each of her companies accepted into the annual San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival. This Festival, the most prestigious ethnic dance festival in the Western United States, chooses its participants through a stringent juried process. Ms. Roberts auditioned her ensembles eleven times and was accepted each time. As a dancer, she has had the honor of dancing in the Festival for fifteen years. In 1992, she was commissioned by the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival to present one of her works, a dramatic and historic representation of the Palestinian Muslim wedding rituals and dances. Other awards include: an anonymous commission in 1993 to choreograph a regional Croatian dance piece; nomination for an Isadora Duncan Dance Award in 1996 for Company Performance during her tenure as Artistic Director for Westwind; and Jubilee’s acceptance into the Festival Internacional del Folklore Baja California 2000, the Festival della Colina 2002 in Italy, the Kaustinen Folk Music Festival 2005 in Finland, and the Festival de Gannat 2008 in France.
In addition to her artistic and production work, Ms. Roberts acted as Dance Consultant to the 2001 San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, and co-produced an ensemble directory of the Bay Area’s ethnic dance companies as part of World Arts West’s Community Involvement Initiative. From 1998-1999, Ms. Roberts served as a member of the Isadora Duncan Dance Awards Committee, and was a judge for the 1999 and 2007 San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festivals. She has also served on numerous performing arts panels and advisory boards.