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.
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.
EVENT DETAILS: WHAT: EDGEWORKS Dance Theater presents /CLOSE/R WHEN: Saturday, September 15 at 8pm and Sunday, September 16 at 7pm WHERE: Dance Place, 3225 8th Street NE, Washington DC 20017;
two blocks from Redline Brookland/CUA Metro station; free and convenient parking
TICKETS: *$40 General Admission + Reception (Saturday only); $22 General Admission;
$17 Dance Place Members, Seniors, Teachers, Artists, Military; $10 College Students; $8 for Children (17 & under) RESERVATIONS: To purchase tickets visit www.danceplace.org or call (202) 269-1600
ALSO: /CLOSE/R includes brief nudity and some profanity. For mature audiences only.
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.
ABOUT DANCE PLACE:
Founded in 1980, Dance Place builds a community of dance artists, audiences, and students through high quality performances,
commissions, training and educational program. We are committed to enriching the field of dance locally, nationally and
internationally. Our thriving arts campus serves as an anchor in the development of our Brookland neighborhood in Washington, DC.
The following photos are strictly for press use only. All images are copyrighted, and the sole property of the individual photographers and EDGEWORKS Dance Theater.
"Dance that communicates what even the most heartfelt words cannot" -The Washington Post
"****" -Ballet Magazine - U.K.
"...hard-hitting..." -The Washington Post
"...strength & control, executed coolly, unhurriedly, rather than with flash..." -The Washington Post
"Emotional and moving experience." -The Washington Afro-American
"...stirring...performing with strength & fluidity..."
-The Washington Post
Helanius J. Wilkins: Dance Chose Me
By Cecile Oreste, danceDC October 25, 2010
Since moving to Washington, DC, Louisiana native Helanius J. Wilkins has had the good fortune to do what he loves for a living - dance. In addition to founding all-male contemporary dance company Edgeworks Dance Theater, he has taught dance classes at Joy of Motion, the American Dance Institute and The Washington Ballet. Read Full Article.
EDGEWORKS founder Helanius Wilkins makes movement his mission
By Will O'Bryan, Metro Weekly
April 23, 2009
If you talk about contemporary dance in Washington, dancer and choreographer Helanius Wilkins is bound to enter the conversation. Since 2001, his EDGEWORKS Dance Theater has steadily been gaining momentum, as he and his all-male company of mostly African-American dancers follow a mission to smash stereotypes. Read Full Article.
Straight from the Hip
By LaVon Rice, ColorLines Magazine
See the lilting Black man. Watch his body articulate itself in space. (”He speaks so well!“)
Watch him sidestep assumptions, shrug off popular images of Black manhood that never fit him anyway. His choreographer could be Helanius Wilkins, founder and artistic director of the Washington, D.C.?based Edgeworks Dance Theater. Established in 2001, the theater is believed to be the only primarily Black male dance company in the United States. Read Full Article.
Top Awards Center On EDGEWORKS
Barbara Allen, The Washington Post
September 13, 2007
Wilkins & Company Among Winners of D.C. Dance Awards. The star of the evening was choreographer Helanius J. Wilkins and his company, Edgeworks Dance Theater. Wilkins's hard-hitting piece on racial issues, "Cold Case," netted outstanding new work, and his troupe's performance of it was named the outstanding group performance. Read Full Article.
EDGEWORKS, Gambling And Winning Onstage
By Lisa Traiger, The Washington Post
March 20, 2006
While "Cold Case," a brand-new work, was the edgiest and most hard-hitting on Saturday evening's Edgeworks Dance Theater program at Dance Place, it was not the riskiest. Instead, the piece that took the greatest gamble, and won, was the softly warmhearted trio that opened the all-male District-based troupe's fifth-anniversary home season. Read Full Article.