A Bon Coeur
Heritage, heart, and soul are the main ingredients for “A Bon Coeur,” a new evening-length, mixed media solo project. For "A Bon Coeur," a Cajun French term meaning “to do something wholeheartedly,” Wilkins draws inspiration from his Creole cultural ties and aspects of growing up in Lafayette, Louisiana.The work is sparked by notions of bloodlines, memory, continuance, and legacy. Driven by a sense of self-discovery, stories untold, and public landscapes of protests, human diversity, and celebration, this work will move in and out of abstract spaces, distinct gestures, and rigorous movement vocabularies that will unearth personal experiences, familial stories, and cultural celebration such as Mardi Gras. Not intended to tell a story, “A Bon Coeur” will resemble a journal capturing moments in time. Richly textured and interwoven, the work will feature original text, a sound score combining new and recorded music that embraces the sounds of contemporary, jazz, and zydeco, video technology, colorful costuming, and lighting design. This is anticipated to be a work without intermission.
Available for touring
This duet project is a performance art installation that is inspired by how we as human beings are marked (stained) by our experiences, forever changing us and contributing to the fabric that is our complexities. Each marking triggers us to consider and sometimes shift our view of self, others, and the world. Through a movement vocabulary transformed within an improvisational structure and a sense of urgency created through an urban musical landscape, this work at times can be a mediation. Yet, at other times, it can be a robust experiment and journey leading to acceptance. This work is approximately 25 minutes in length.
Concept & Direction by Helanius J. Wilkins
This work is in part the result of a collaboration with Trent D. Williams, Jr. whose creative insights have been, and continue to be, an integral part of the artistic process.
Music by Various Artists featuring works by Sven Abow and So Percussion
Costume Concept by Helanius J. Wilkins
Performance by Helanius J. Wilkins, Trent D. Williams, Jr.
This work was commissioned by the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA.
Available for touring
"/CLOSE/R," emerges from a place of fear and flight. This evening-length solo project exposes Wilkins in his naked truth through a process of shedding. "/CLOSE/R" marks a departure from his past works for his all-male EDGEWORKS Dance Theater by returning to the solo form. Inspired in part by notions of what is uncomfortable, Wilkins navigates his way from questions to statements while exploring newfound personal realizations of dance. This piece fuses lighting design, video technology, movement, and text through the subtle intimacy of humor. This work is approximately 75 minutes in length.
"/CLOSE/R" marked a shift in Wilkins’ creative process. Rather than beginning with choreography or the creation of set movements, he is allowing his own bodily actions and sensory engagement to guide the process as well as the performance. The result is an ever-changing and indeterminate journey that is different for each iteration. The performance not only gives an audience a glimpse into a new way of molding movement, but also informs Wilkins’ own deepening of ways in which our senses guide knowledge production. Wilkins returned to the university setting in summer 2011 to pursue graduate studies, as an extension of his artistic journey. He earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from the George Washington University in 2012. "/CLOSE/R" was the culmination of his performance work for his MFA program of study.
"/CLOSE/R" was presented in September 2012 at Dance Place, co-commissioners for the project, in Washington, DC; and then in October 2012 at Links Hall in Chicago, IL, and in November 2012 at CSPS Legion Arts in Cedar Rapids, IA. Encore performances of the work in DC took place in March 2013 as part of the Atlas Center for the Performing Arts Intersections Arts Festival. The work later premiered in Johannesburg, South Africa. He was the only US-based artist selected for Dance Umbrella 2013 in Johannesburg. The project also earned 6 nominations and was voted a finalist in two categories for the Metro DC Dance Awards (Washington, DC). He won the award for "Outstanding Individual Performance."
Concept, Direction, Choreography, & Performance by Helanius J. Wilkins
Artistic Mentor Susannah Newman
Original Music Composed, Arranged, & Performed by Sven Abow
Additional Sound Samples, Mixes, & Recorded Music by Various DJs, Guns N' Roses "Welcome to the Jungle," Gravediggaz "Bang Your Head," James Brown "I Got Ants In My Pants (And I Want To Dance)."
Voice Overs by Barbara N. Wilkins & Helanius J. Wilkins
Text Written by Helanius J. Wilkins
Scenic Design Collaboration & Lighting Design by Ben Levine
Costume Concept & Construction by Roxann Rowley-Morgan
Video Production, Graphics Set Imagery, & Editing by Thom Stromer
Main Video Camera by Sardar Aziz
Additional Video Camera by Kelly Southhall & Editing by Helanius J. Wilkins
This project was made possible in part by the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities, an agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.
This project was made possible in part through a series of creative residencies at Dance Place.