How to Think About Dance


How to Think About Dance



Human beings dance for every reason imaginable: to protest, to pray, to court one another, to explore nature, to find truth, and simply to explore dance itself. But what makes dance “dance” and how are we to interpret the performances we watch? How theoretical are dancers when they perform and how well can they realize a choreographer’s vision? These questions are just a part of a wide-ranging discussion as we welcome choreographer, performance artist, scholar, and of course, dancer Helanius J. Wilkins.

Helanius, a native of Lafayette, Louisiana, 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 dance company of predominantly African-American men that existed for thirteen (13) years, from 2001 – 2013. His honors include the 2008 Pola Nirenska Award for Contemporary Achievement in Dance, D.C.’s highest honor given by the Washington Performing Arts Society; the 2002 and 2006 Kennedy Center Local Dance Commissioning Project Award; and Metro D.C. Dance Awards. In addition he was a three times finalist for the D.C. Mayor’s Arts Awards and Bates Dance Festival, one of the premiere festivals in the United States, named him their 2002 Emerging Choreographer. Most recently, he was a lecturer at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Helanius’s website can be found at


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Publication Date



Institute for Philosophy in Public Life


Grand Forks, ND


Choreography--Philosophy ; Modern dance--United States



How to Think About Dance