Helanius J. Wilkins (Founder & Artistic Director), a native of Lafayette, LA, is an award winning choreographer, performance artist, and instructor based in Washington DC. He is the 2008 recipient of the Pola Nirenska Award for Contemporary Achievement in Dance and is a 2009 finalist for the DC Mayor's Arts Awards for Excellence in an Artistic Discipline. He is a 2006 Recipient of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Local Dance Commissioning Project, an award he also received in 2002.
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. To date, he has choreographed and directed over 60 works. This summer Wilkins made his DC theatre debut as the choreographer for Studio Theatre's wildly successful and critically-acclaimed musical production Passing Strange. Wilkins made his international debut as a choreographer and performer in December 2000 at the Monaco Danses Dances Forum in Monaco.
Foundations and organizations including New England Foundation for the Arts, Regional Arts Commission, 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, and 2010. He is a former Associate Artistic Director of the Dance Institute of Washington. He is currently on faculty at Joy of Motion Dance Center , The Washington Ballet, and American Dance Institute. He most recently launched a new Studio to Stage workshop at Joy of Motion. This workshop provides dancers and students in the DC area a unique opportunity to experience his creative process, which leads to the creation of a new work and the public presentation of it.
ABOUT EDGEWORKS DANCE THEATER: EDGEWORKS Dance Theater (EDT) is Washington, DC's premier all male contemporary dance company of predominately African-American men. EDT aims to break down stereotypes through dance, utilizing a spectrum of performances, choreographic, and teaching styles, reflecting the diversity of experiences and perspectives of both its members and guest artists. Through its mission, EDT provides a variety of arts education services and programming, while linking the arts and social justice. EDT has performed throughout the United States including venues in Arizona, Pennsylvania, New York, Washington DC, and in Massachusetts at Jacobs' Pillow Dance Festival; and internationally in Lithuania, Scotland, and Switzerland. Encompassing physical extremes, EDT's body of performance work is both dynamic and diverse. While pushing boundaries, it simultaneously challenges and affirms societal perceptions of male identity, revealing strength and vulnerability. EDGEWORKS Dance Theater is critically-acclaimed and the recipient of numerous awards including six Metro DC Dance Awards. For more information about EDGEWORKS Dance Theater and our upcoming projects, visit www.hjwEdgeworks.org.