Founded in 2009, HELEN SIMONEAU DANSE (HSDanse) is committed to creating and performing dance works of its founder and choreographer Helen Simoneau. In addition to an annual performance in Winston-Salem, NC, the company has been presented in Austria, Brazil, Canada, France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and toured throughout Germany, Asia, and the United States. The company has been commissioned by The Juilliard School, Oregon Ballet Theatre, the American Dance Festival, UNC School of the Arts, The Yard, Springboard Danse Montréal, and the Swiss International Coaching Project (SiWiC) in Zurich. Most recently, Simoneau was resident artist at Baryshnikov Arts Center, Bates Dance Festival, NYU/Tisch Summer Dance Residency, and has received fellowships from The NYU Center for Ballet and the Arts, the Bogliasco Foundation, as well as twice from the North Carolina Arts Council. Notable venues that have presented Simoneau’s work include The Guggenheim Museum (NYC), Dance Place (DC), Joyce SoHo (NYC), Tangente (Montréal), The Aoyama Round Theatre (Tokyo), the L.I.G. Art Hall Busan (South Korea), Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out (MA), PACT-Zollverein in Essen (Germany), the Shanghai Dance Festival (China). Her work was also presented at the 13th Internationales Solo-Tanz-Theater Festival in Stuttgart, Germany, where she was awarded 1st place for Choreography. She has been described as “a Choreographer-on-the-rise” with a style that is both “athletic and smooth” — Dance Magazine.
“The work I create is inspired and informed by a fascination with the intricacies of relationships and the vast spectrum of human dynamics. Through dance making I explore ways of expressing and sharing the ways we, as individuals, interact and relate to the larger group. Proximity, intimacy and personal space have been ongoing and appealing catalysts for me as they establish a visceral tension between performers and between the stage and the audience.
Much of my work is created on ensembles of three to as many as twelve or more dancers, and I enjoy sculpting and directing these from the outside, developing each performer’s distinctive characteristics and honing the energy of the group. While I find it essential to be an outside choreographic eye for these works, I frequently dance in my own solos and duets and relish pushing my own physicality to extremes, experiencing the work from the inside.
I am deeply invested in the energies and possibilities that emerge from collaboration and strive to work within a collaborative environment with dancers in order to further utilize their curiosity and decision-making. Although my work begins with form, an underlying meaning or “through line” emerges during the creation process. Committed to supporting, creating and holding space in an effort to cultivate agency and build a sense of shared ownership of the work, I view my art making as a political act and strive for a workspace grounded in horizontally based organizational structures”.-Helen
photos by Miles Yeung, Anna Lee Campbell, Hope Davis, and Charles Zovko