Helga Hill commenced an annual introductory Art of Gesture course at the Early Music Studio, University of Melbourne, in 2000. Her interest in the art began when preparing choreography for a series of early operas and masques for the Dartington International Summer School and other European venues between 1986 and 1997.
At the suggestion of noted singer, Emma Kirkby, she made contact with the acknowledged world leader in the field, Dene Barnett of Flinders University in Adelaide, and studied under his direction.
Following Dene Barnett's passing in 1997, Helga Hill decided to continue his work by offering introductory and advanced courses in Melbourne. A series of intensive workshops has commenced at interstate venues - the first in Brisbane in 2002.
The Melbourne courses gave rise to a group of enthusiasts who, in 2001, joined Helga Hill in forming the Australian Gesture Workshop to promote the art.
Recent innovations have seen the development of two-period (two-hour) Gesture presentations for drama and vocal students in secondary schools and tertiary institutions. Actio, an occasional newsletter, is also prepared by the group.
With assistance from Gordon and Jean Barnett of Canberra, a significant Gesture library has been set up as part of the Early Music, Dance and Theatre Archive. Local, interstate and overseas students are now taking advantage of this facility.
The Art of Gesture for Singers and Teachers
Studying the Stroke : A Secret Weapon for Actors and Singers