Artist Spotlight: Kaiso Hill
Kaiso Hill, a 12th grader at Berkeley High School, is a devoted artist who isn’t afraid to experiment with various mediums. Hill is grateful to be in an environment that gives him so many opportunities. From a young age he has studied Capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian art form that combines elements of martial arts, music and dance. Hill says he has been participating in Capoeira “since [he] could walk.” Kaiso’s father is a Capoeira master and sharing the art form has helped form a powerful bond between them. Kaiso explains that from Capoeira he has learned the invaluable lesson of “discipline”. Hill now teaches this art form to younger children and continues to take classes.
Currently Hill’s central artistic focus and passion is acting. He has performed in numerous productions, including Shift Theater’s Madwoman of Chaillot and I.T.P’s,.Over the summer Kaiso traveled to England to further hone his craft.
The program, run through the A.C.T. theater in San Francisco, took Hill along with other eager thespians on a two week trip across the country learning theater skills and working on a play, Riot, which will be performed at the A.C.T. in San Fransisco later on this year. In England the program worked closely with the writer and director of the show.
“Getting to work with the writer and director of the show made the experience really professional,” commented Hill. “also we got to work with older profesional actors, which raised the bar and inspired us to work harder”. Hill is really excited for the play to open; Riot is about “a group of kids locked in a mental facility, and is really a critique on how our country deals with mental illness,” explains Kaiso. “the whole experience has really got me hooked on acting and convinced me that this is what I want to do.”
This weekend Kaiso will be performing in his first musical, A Chorus Line, with Y.M.T.C, Youth Musical Theater Company. Hill never ceases to impress, and his acting, singing and dancing are a highlight of the show. Hill admitted “I didn’t realize how hard doing a musical would be. You basically have to be a super human. You have to concentrate on so many factors at once.” Hill credits his unexpected dancing and singing talents to his experience in capoeira. He adds, “The best part of theater is the people, I have met so many interesting people and made alot of great friends through theater.”
As well as acting, Kaiso played varsity soccer at Berkeley High for several years; he also directs theatre and composes music. His diverse pursuits reflect the talent of a renaissance man whose strength of character, physical discipline and magnificent artistic vision will surely afford accomplishment wherever he seeks it.