HELEN DUNCAN works across dance, theatre, fashion and visual arts to produce vibrant, high quality entertainment productions . As the Creative Director of Wearable Art Mandurah (2014 – 2017), she has led the competition from a small-scale fashion show into one of Australia’s most prominent Creative Arts Showcases. Her working method is highly collaborative and with skilled leadership she engages with artists individual strengths to promote authentic and skilled performance outcomes. In theatre, Helen has most recently provided choreographic support for Elbow Room’s production “Niche”, reviewed as "one of the most technically accomplished plays this reviewer has ever seen on Melbourne stages, large or small" (Arts Hub). As Artistic Director for Riptide Performing Arts Company(2011-2014) she designed projects to engage young people with cutting edge contemporary theatre and dance experiences. Under her direction the group have worked with professionals from Sydney Theatre Company, Black Swan Theatre Company, Griffin Theatre, Barking Gecko, Shaun Parker and others. Her independent dance theatre work has been presented at Edinburgh Fringe, Perth Fringe, Melbourne Fringe and Melbourne International Comedy Festivals.
Helen is a graduate of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts and Post Graduate performance company, Link (2007)
"Helen is one of the best Animateurs currently working in australia, possessing a depth of experience in community & Professional Practice"
Guy Boyce, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR / CEO
Mandurah Performing Arts Centre
Personal artistic practice
CONTEMPORARY DANCE THEATRE
In 2007 I graduated the Western Australian Academy of performing Arts with a BA Arts Honours in Dance. During this time I performed with Link Dance Company under the direction of Michael Whaites. Michael was former dancer with Pina Bausch Tanztheater Wuppertal in Germany and I like to think my choreographic process, creative interests and inspiration has been importantly influenced and informed by this lineage.
I am interested in creating new work that reflects contemporary society and mirrors the people we are today; our cultural social affairs and how we exist on a day to day basis. In doing so, I hope to reveal an appreciation for a spectrum of modern human behaviour and tendencies including its beauty, its vulgarity, it’s wisdom, it’s stupidity and it’s simplicity.
As an independent artist I have engaged with a broad range of roles and responsibilities including dancer, choreographer, artistic director, teacher, producer and project manager. This fluidity of job description is, in part, a necessary action for creating a sustainable career as an Australian independent artist. It has also significantly and positively influenced the way that I create new work and collaborate with others.
I work with a strengths based approach; collaborating with others to identify and use individual strengths and assets to generate strong and authentic performance outcomes.
In collaboration with various other international and Australian artists, Helen has devised and performed in works presented at Edinburgh Fringe, Perth Fringe, Melbourne Fringe and Melbourne International Comedy Festival. In 2007 & 2008 Helen was engaged with the City of Mandurah as Festival Director for the City’s annual Stretch Arts Festival. In 2009 she relocated to the United Kingdom where she was appointed Dance Development Officer at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. She was responsible for progressing the school’s dance initiatives and supported the touring activity of the postgraduate performance company, Verve. In 2012, Helen Co-founded Riptide Youth Company. Still strong the program engages young people in the Peel with cutting edge contemporary theatre and dance experiences. As Artistic Director she produced work for the company with leading artists such as Danielle Micich, Sarah Giles and Suzie Miller. Working in theatre Helen has provided choreographic support and movement consultancy for actors. She was the Creative Director for Wearable Art Mandurah Showcase from 2014 - 2017. Most recently she worked with Elbow Room on their successfully received original production Niche. Helen has previously received mentorship from the KAGE Coach program and was awarded scholarship to attend a workshop series with Ultima Vez in Brussels and is a recipient of the Australia Council’s Arts Start grant.
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