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 and service to dance at the Metro DC Dance Awards in September 2008. He is the first and only choreographer to be awarded the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Local Dance Commissioning Project two times (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.
His choreography has been commissioned and included in the repertories of the Instruments of Movement (Chicago), Slippery Rock University (Pennsylvania), Dance Institute of Washington (District of Columbia), Oakland Dance Theatre Repertory Company (Michigan), and Stephens College (Missouri), where he was selected as the Emerging Choreographer for Summer Festival 2001. Bates Dance Festival, a premier US dance festival, named him the 2002 Emerging Choreographer. While in summer residence in Maine, where the festival is based, he created a new work entitled GroundPlay , which was presented in "Different Voices," a concert featuring new works by international and national artists visiting the festival. Wilkins made his international debut as a choreographer and performer in December 2000 at the Monaco Danses Dances Forum in Monaco. In 2010, he made his DC theatre debut as the choreographer for the Studio Theatre's wildly successful and critically-acclaimed musical production Passing Strange .
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, and 2010. 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 and The Washington Ballet.