FRIDAY Class with Helanius Wilkins

For the month of November I’m so excited to have Helanius Wilkins teaching! My first experience with Helanius was in FRIDAY Class last season. I remember being immediately drawn into his warm and welcoming energy, his challenging phrase work, and the playful rigor. I love the way that Helanius builds on information, layering new ideas and approaches, and really facilitates a space where all can come and work through things on their own turf. The wonderful thing about November is that we have him ALL month, which means that we can really go somewhere. Take advantage of this opportunity to dig deeply into the research, and come as often as you can! Treat yourself with FRIDAY Class with Helanius, and then treat yourself at Thanksgiving for working so hard! November 1, 8, 15, and 23. 9:30-11:15 on Fridays, $12 ($10 with class card). 18+

Helanius Wilkins

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 on faculty at the Washington Ballet and Joy of Motion Dance Center.

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.

About Matthew Cumbie

Matthew Cumbie (Associate Artistic Director) is a dance artist and collaborator who currently lives in Washington, DC.