Helander Dance Theater - Unexpected Theater | Undance Movement

Our Mission

Helander Dance Theater exists to strengthen the connection between creative expression and community through dance, theater and a variety of integrated arts mediums. To cultivate leadership, understanding, sharing, and healing. To share opportunities to find humor in life and in ourselves. To promote an accessible inclusive environment, conduct outreach opportunities to engage the youth, elderly, and under-served. And to contribute to the enrichment and artistic development of the Boulder community and the state of Colorado.

Company Members

Danelle Helander : Artistic Director

Danelle has been praised locally and internationally for her teaching and artistic direction. She has received a NOVA Award for her cross-cultural humanitarian efforts. In addition, she has collaborated with Global Response, a non-profit organization addressing environmental issues.

Danelle's professional career began with the Chicago Moving Company. She danced with the New Arts Ensemble in New York and was founder and artistic director of Akasha and Company in Chicago. After studying with Byrne Piven at the Piven Theatre Workshop in Chicago, Danelle began teaching improvisational theater and continues teaching today in Boulder, Colorado. Her classes bridge the gap between creative movement and theater, exploring how body-based theater fosters communication across cultural and societal boundaries.

Danelle has been commissioned to create original choreography for Diane Portman, AirJazz, Chicago Moving Company, Creighton University, David Taylor Dance Theater and various independent artists. She has taught and performed in Europe, Nicaragua, Japan, India, Africa and Costa Rica.

Sean Owens : Executive Director

Sean's artistic career began in Colorado's Roaring Fork Valley, where he was fortunate enough to work under the direction of John Goss (Artistic Director of the Glenwood Vaudeville Review) in a number of musicals. In 2005 he moved to Boulder to attend the University of Colorado, where he trained under Onye Ozuzu, and performed for Linday Pierce (MFA), Esmeralda Kundanis-Grow (BFA), and Anna Mayer (BFA). In addition to performing Sean also composed the musical score for Anna Mayer's BFA performance.

Sean joined Helander Dance Theater in 2008, one day after taking class with Danelle she asked him how he felt about performing as a lizard. And so it began. Since then, Sean has performed, composed music, produced video, and embraced ongoing collaboration with Danelle. In 2012 he became the company's executive director.

Matt Powelson : Musical Director

Matt is a Colorado (near) native - he's been here since 1962 - and has been playing music a good part of that time. He began on trumpet in 7th grade, picked up guitar at 14, and bass not long after that. He played in his first rock band in 1976, and played some gigs around Ft. Collins. He became interested in jazz as a teenager - he heard a Miles Davis album that set him on the path, and made him want to play the big bass. He was in a working jazz trio, also in Ft Collins, in 1981 and '82 - when he got his first upright bass. Over the years, he's played about every type of music: rock, blues, heavy metal, bluegrass, big band and small combo jazz, and even country western (He was in a hoppin' little country swing band in Missouri called Georgia Overdrive). He's appeared on bass on a couple of albums, "Runnin' Wild", a rock album that came out in 1980. And, more recently, "Tune the Dove", a folk album by a group called Carnelian.

His current projects are the Colo Jazz Workshop, Swing City-Boulder, and Trio Galapago (which sometimes includes Otto Koch). Also, he freelances around Denver and Boulder with groups like the Jazz Partners, Lost Soul, and other aggregations

Current Projects


Prepare yourself for the combination of John Cage's prepared piano, creative dance theater, and live musical conduction. Part of the Soundscape series at The Dairy, this performance will be like nothing you've experienced, with great music and great movement.

Performed by: Dino J.A. Deane (conductor), Danelle Helander (mover), Markus Hunt (contra-bass), David Korevaar (piano), Brian Mullins (zhonghu) Phil Norman (cello), Sean Owens (mover), Matthew Powelson (bass), & Gil Selinger (cello).

Wednesday, November 9th @ 2:00pm in The Dairy.

Tickets online or at the door.

Creative Wellness Collaboration

Since early 2012 we have been working with the Alzheimer's Association of Colorado in developing theater and movement workshops specifically for individuals with early-stage symptoms and their companions. Our focus has been on using improvisation to help participants find their creativity and self-expression. Part of the beauty of improvisational art is in its immediacy and spontaneity. It does not rely on memorized lines or patterns of movement. If you have any interest in this project please contact us.

Contacts for this Collaboration
Danelle Helander | danelle@helanderdancetheater.org
Sharon Stokes | sharon.stokes@alz.org

Completed Projects

Theater Workshops

Physical Theater, Creative Movement, & Theater Games

With a devotion to creativity, wit and playing big, we provide you with an opportunity to express yourself through movement and gameplaying. If you have a desire to tap into your creative side in a safe environment, come join us. No memorization, just spontaneous play!

Movement Classes

Intermediate/Advanced Modern Technique

Respected artistic director Danelle Helander provides a truly unique modern technique class guaranteed to bring your dance to the next level. With an eye for alignment and center, Danelle frees dancers to find their fullest movement. She provides individualized attention and technique-based feedback to pinpoint areas for improvement. Class includes a thorough warm-up, floor work and exhilarating choreography.

Ways to Support HDT

Making a Donation

Your donation translates directly into rehearsal space, musicians, lower ticket prices, and other vital aspects of our work. Please help us with our endeavors. You can make donations online using paypal here, or through snail mail by sending a check made out to Helander Dance Theater at: 2590 Walnut Street, Boulder CO 80302.

Volunteering Your Time

We can always use help from individuals who support our mission of making the world better through artistic expression.

Business Sponsorship

Helander Dance Theater is interested in collaborating with the business community. During 2012 we succesfully collaborated with Lucky's Market in North Boulder to produce a series of performances entitled Happenstance. From dancing up and down the produce aisles with live musicians in the produce to a theater piece in Lucky's Cafe, HDT's free public performances gave customers and employees of Lucky's a novel sense of art in their everday lives. If your business is interested in performances, workshops, or simply wants to connect with us, let us know!

Get in touch with HDT

We are housed in the Dairy Center for the Arts
2590 Walnut Street, Suite 7
Boulder, CO 80302-5700


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