Start the new year with Helanius Wilkins’ FRIDAY CLASS series

I first met Helanius in 2006 when I was taking his class at Joy of Motion Friendship Heights. In his class, I sweat for 90 minutes straight and loved every moment. His class is athletic, nuanced, and thoughtful, and as I’ve grown as a dancer, I’ve always been inspired by how Helanius constantly challenges his own methods, teaching practices, and ways of creating work–and all of that is apparent in his class. I’m really excited that he is teaching in our series, and especially that is he kicking off FRIDAY CLASS in 2013. Helanius will teach January 4, 11, and 18 from 9:30-11:15am. Class is $12, or $10 with a class card.

Class description: This class deconstructs traditional approaches to technique and re-images body limitations to examine and explore the “joy” of daring dance and create an endless well of movement possibilities. My dance vocabulary fuses velocity, weight, and gymnastic principles with anatomical approaches to motion. This class incorporates conditioning work for strength, mental training for clarity and articulation, and strong performance skills that emphasize intent and outcome.

Helanius Wilkins. Photo by Angelisa Gillyard

Helanius J. Wilkins, a native of Lafayette, LA, is an award  winning choreographer, performance artist, and instructor based in Washington D.C. He is the Founder & Artistic Director of EDGEWORKS Dance Theater, an all-male contemporary dance theater company also based in Washington D.C. In 2008 he was awarded the Pola Nirenska Award for Contemporary Achievement in Dance, DC’s highest honor given by the Washington Performing Arts Society; and was a three times finalist for  the D.C. Mayor’s Arts Awards. In 2002 and 2006 he received the John F. Kennedy Center for The Performing Arts Local Dance Commissioning Project  award. Bates Dance Festival, one of the premier festivals in the US,  named him their 2002 Emerging Choreographer.

A graduate of SUNY Brockport, Wilkins returned to the university setting in summer 2011 to pursue graduate studies at George Washington University, as an extension of his artistic journey. His first ever  evening-length solo project,  /CLOSE/R, marked the culmination of his performance work for his MFA program of study.

Prior to the founding of EDGEWORKS Dance Theater in 2001, Wilkins founded Dimensions Dance Company, a Washington DC–based modern dance  project 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).

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 currently enjoying his second appointment as guest artist in residence at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC).

About Sarah Levitt

Sarah Levitt (Resident Artist/Communications Coordinator) is a dancer, choreographer and teacher based in Maryland.