For the first time, one of the premiere dance troupes in the D.C. area, Edgeworks Dance Theater will be performing at a Fairfax County venue. In a performance open to both non-members and members of the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia (JCCNV), Edgeworks, an all-male, predominantly African-American dance troupe, will perform their expressive, contemporary dance work.,
The dance company will also provide a master class for the students participating in the Center's dance classes.
"We are so excited to have Edgeworks Dance Theater be the first professional dance company to perform at the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia (JCCNV) and know that their groundbreaking presentation will have a tremendous affect on both our students and the community." said Alicia Ronquillo, JCCNV Dance Director.
"Many of Edgeworks pieces are socially and culturally influenced, providing positive and recognizable connectivity with the community." added Ronquillo. "Edgeworks is full of athleticism as well as challenging structure and technique."
"Dance is such an important program at the JCCNV." said Dan Kirsch. "As we were developing the new cultural arts program, we wanted to present dance from local and regional companies that would show different styles of dance and engage our students and audience with great storytelling."
Helanius J. Wilkins is the Edgeworks founder and artistic director. In a recent interview, Wilkins shared his appreciation of dance as a form of expression. "I teach to inspire, to connect, to communicate, to share my knowledge, and to express my love and joy of dancing,” said Wilkins. "I teach to engage people in a process of transformation. I view our physical languages as paths that lead us not only to understanding aspects of our human experience, but also to making sense of the world around us.”
He wants to create "an atmosphere that allows students to discover connections between what they experience within the studio and their lives outside of the studio walls. I encourage students to awaken their curiosity, to experiment, question, feel, think, reflect, and communicate their experiences with honesty, compassion, fluidity, and strength. I emphasize the importance of skills and courage...to find our creative voices.
“The title of the program is ‘EXTREME MEASURES.’ It will feature the company performing a shorter sampling of signature works created over the years. Primary focus is given to our more intimate, smaller works. In many ways, the program will capture the essence of who we are as a company, and what we are committed to in our work."
When asked about teaching a master class, Wilkins indicated that the "students can expect a fun-filled, high energy, and challenging experience. They can expect to enter into a safe and creative space where they will be encouraged to take chances. My style fuses various modern dance forms with ballet, martial arts, and improvisation."
For Wilkins, dance gives inspiration along with enjoyment. "It is my belief that dance is the universal language. It transcends all boundaries and limitations. Dance is so much. Through it we can communicate, heal, connect, build communities, and change lives." Performing in a Fairfax County venue will be "a unique opportunity to share our diverse sampling of our work."
As Dan Kirsch noted, “We hope the audience and our students start thinking about dance not as something distant from them, but as something that is part of all of us."