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Helanius J. Wilkins Exposes His Truth In New Solo Project


Tuesday, August 14, 2012 - 8:15am

News from Dance Place in DC

Helanius J. Wilkins Exposes

His Truth In New Solo Project

Helanius J. Wilkins, Artistic Director of EDGEWORKS Dance Theater, returns to the Dance Place stage with an evening-length solo project on Saturday, September 15 at 8pm and Sunday, September 16 at 7pm. The performances mark the opening of Dance Place’s 32nd Performance Season.

The Saturday night performance will be followed by a special fundraiser reception* for EDGEWORKS Dance Theater. The Sunday night performance will include a post performance discussion.

About /CLOSE/Ra

Conceived, choreographed, and performed by Helanius J. Wilkins, /CLOSE/R, emerges from a place of fear and flight. This evening-length solo project exposes Wilkins in his naked truth through a process of shedding. /CLOSE/R marks a departure from his past works for his all-male EDGEWORKS Dance Theater by returning to the solo form. Inspired in part by notions of what is uncomfortable, Wilkins navigates his way from questions to statements while exploring newfound personal realizations of dance. This piece fuses lighting design, video technology, movement, and text through the subtle intimacy of humor.

/CLOSE/R marks a shift in Wilkins’ creative process. Rather than beginning with choreography or the creation of set movements, he is allowing his own bodily actions and sensory engagement to guide the process as well as the performance. The result is an ever-changing and indeterminate journey that is different for each iteration. The performance not only gives an audience a glimpse into a new way of molding movement, but also informs Wilkins’ own deepening of ways in which our senses guide knowledge production. Wilkins returned to the university setting in summer 2011 to pursue graduate studies, as an extension of his artistic journey. He is a Master’s of Fine Arts degree candidate at the George Washington University. /CLOSE/R is the culmination of his performance work for his MFA program of study.

/CLOSE/R includes brief nudity and some profanity. For mature audiences only.

*This project is made possible in part by the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities, an agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.

About Helanius J. Wilkins

Helanius J. Wilkins, a native of Lafayette LA, is an award-winning choreographer, performance artist, and instructor based in Washington DC. A dance graduate of The State University of New York (SUNY) College at Brockport, he was honored with the 2008 Pola Nirenska Award for Contemporary Achievement in Dance for artistic excellence at the Metro DC Dance Awards. He is a recipient of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Local Dance Commissioning Project (in 2002 & 2006). Bates Dance Festival, one of the premier festivals in the US, named him the 2002 Emerging Choreographer. Prior to the founding of EDGEWORKS Dance Theater in 2001, Wilkins founded Dimensions Dance Company, a Washington DC–based modern dance company he maintained from 1995 to 2000. In addition to performing the works of several nationally recognized choreographers including Robert Moses, Earl Mosley, Joy Kellman, Troy Powell, and Kevin Wynn, he performed with Present Tense Dance Company (Upstate NY) as well as with Maida Withers’ Dance Construction Company (DC), and as a guest with the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange (MD). He has equally enjoyed creating, presenting, and receiving commissions for choreography throughout the United States and abroad.

Foundations and organizations including The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, New England Foundation for the Arts, The Puffin Foundation Ltd., DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and the National Endowment for the Arts have supported Wilkins’ work.

Wilkins is a much sought-after instructor who teaches professional and pre-professional dancers, as well as students of various ages and levels of skill. He has served as an adjudicator and master teacher at American College Dance Festivals in 2004, 2005, 2007, 2010, and 2011. He is a former Associate Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer for the Dance Institute of Washington. He is currently on faculty at Joy of Motion Dance Center. He will be the guest-artist-in-residence at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) in fall 2012.

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