Winston-Salem artist Helen Simoneau sees dance as a way of exploring how individuals interact and relate within a larger group. In her choreography, she plays with proximity, intimacy, and personal space to create tensions that resonate among the performers, and between the stage and audience. She says, “The work I create is inspired and informed by a fascination with the intricacies of relationships and the vast spectrum of human dynamics.”
Simoneau’s work is typically set on ensembles from as small as three performers to as many as twelve or more. She views her dancers as collaborators in the generation of each piece, taking the original idea and molding it as they work through the movements and gestures into a finished form. She herself participates in this process, frequently dancing in her own solos and duets, which allows her to see the work from the inside. The process is both democratic and physical, producing work that is memorable for its craftsmanship and striking imagery. As Martha Sherman wrote in Dance View Times, “Simoneau codes her choreography like an athlete with a soft exterior, a fist inside a glove.”
Since graduating from Hollins University in 2009 with an M.F.A., Simoneau has enjoyed considerable success. In addition to numerous performances and residencies in the U.S. and abroad, she was one of three winners of the Oregon Ballet Theatre’s North American Search “Choreography XX” and will create a new piece for the company in June 2017. In 2015, she was commissioned by The Julliard School for “New Dances,” a program that was presented at Lincoln Center and the Guggenheim Museum. She is a 2016-2017 N.C. Arts Council Fellowship recipient, her second time to be so recognized. Her first award came in 2010-2011.