Helanius J. Wilkins, a native of Lafayette, Louisiana, is an award-winning choreographer, performance artist, innovator, and educator. He lived in Washington, D.C. for eighteen (18) years and founded EDGEWORKS Dance Theater, an all-male dance company of predominantly African American men that existed for thirteen (13) years (2001 - 2014).
His honors include the 2008 Pola Nirenska Award for Contemporary Achievement in Dance, and the 2002 and 2006 Kennedy Center Local Dance Commissioning Project Award. He was a three times finalist for the D.C. Mayor’s Arts Awards and Bates Dance Festival named him their 2002 Emerging Choreographer. In addition to performing the works of nationally recognized choreographers including Robert Moses, Joy Kellman, and Kevin Wynn, he performed with Maida Withers’ Dance Construction Company (DC) and as a guest with the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange (MD). He has equally enjoyed, and continues to enjoy, creating, presenting, and receiving commissions for choreography throughout the United States and abroad.
To date, he has choreographed and directed over 60 works, which includes two critically-acclaimed musical productions for Washington, DC’s Studio Theater – “Passing Strange” (2010) and “POP!” (2011). Foundations and organizations including New England Foundation for the Arts (National Dance Project), National Performance Network (NPN), the Boulder Office of Arts & Culture Public Arts Program, D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and the National Endowment for the Arts have supported his work.
He is a member of the National Board of Directors of the American College Dance Association for the Northwest region and was appointed in 2018 by Governor Jared Polis to the Colorado Council on Creative Industries. He is based in Boulder, CO where, following a 3-year appointment as Associate Chair, he recently became Director of Dance and is a Professor of Dance at the University of Colorado Boulder.