Michael Helland is a Brussels-based dance artist and bodyworker from Seattle, Washington, USA. He performs one-on-one ritual treatments in his private studio and completed the 2019 Conscious Living yoga teacher training and 2022 Ayurvedic Yoga Massage training in Brussels. He appears in the works of Maria Hassabi, Christian Bakalov, Tino Sehgal, and Heather Kravas, and is the artistic assistant for Daniel Linehan/Hiatus. Previous projects include performances and exhibitions with Thomas Proksch, Isabel Lewis, Cecilia Lisa Eliceche, Xavier Le Roy, Katy Pyle, Alexandra Bachzetsis, Karl Van Welden, Eleanor Bauer, Faye Driscoll, Marina Abramović, robbinschilds, Big Art Group, RoseAnne Spradlin, and Sam Kim.
Working at the crossroads of theatrical presentation, exhibition-based contexts, and public art modalities, Helland makes creative interventions aimed to foster social connectivity and help communities face the dark uncertainty of the future. Current offerings include Land Connection Practices and Tending & Tuning workshops, led in partnership with Daniel Linehan in dynamic contexts. In 2019 he facilitated semi-weekly sessions of Queer Sensual Improv at the Artist Commons in Brussels and hosted the Temporary Body Worker Union in residency at Workspacebrussels. His research-in-action RECESS was awarded a 2017 Flemish Research Grant, resulting in the 2016 RECESS: Dance of Light solo performance at Abrons Arts Center in New York and the 2017 RECESS: ZSenne Salon pop-up urban sanctuary in Brussels. Helland’s 2018 RECESS: Becoming Crystalline was part of the immersive workshop space of the Welt ohne Außen exhibition at Gropius Bau in Berlin.
Prior to relocating from New York to Brussels in 2010, Helland received a 2009 New York Dance and Performance ‘Bessie’ Award for his performance in Faye Driscoll’s 837 Venice Boulevard. He received a 2010 Jardin d’Europe danceWEB scholarship to ImPulsTanz in Vienna and was a 2012 Jardin d’Europe Wild Card resident at ex.e.r.ce. in Montpellier. In 2013 Helland was invited by Chrysa Parkinson to participate in the Dancer as Agent conference at DOCH in Stockholm, resulting in the publication of their Curating Your Moves conversation in the 2014 Dancer as Agent Collection.
In 2007 Helland presented the immersive dance theater production The Dress Up Show at the Chocolate Factory, followed by the 2008 Dress Up Party in SCOPE New York at Lincoln Center. His work has been showcased at Dance Theater Workshop, Danspace Project, and Movement Research at Judson Church, among other venues, shown in Brussels at Volksroom and Artpotheek, and supported by creative residencies at Summer Studios, Villa Empain, wpZimmer, ZSenne art lab, and Workspacebrussels.
Helland frequently works as a performance advisor and in an array of creative collaborations. His choreography for Yan Duyvendak’s 2015 Sound of Music was presented across Switzerland, France, and Italy. His 2013 Vita Activa, created in partnership with Daniel Linehan, has been presented in Belgium at deSingel, Vooruit, and STUK, and in France by Opéra de Lille at the Maison Folie Wazemmes. From 2011 to 2013 he also worked as the technical assistant for Ivo Dimchev.
From 2007 to 2010 Helland curated the quarterly Brink performance series at Dixon Place and was part of the artist-based staff at The Field in New York. He has curated and served upon artist-based panels for the American Dance Festival, Brooklyn Arts Council, Dance Theater Workshop, and New Dance Alliance, among other organizations.
Helland holds a Bachelor of the Arts double-degree in Dance, College of Arts and Sciences, and in Community & Environmental Planning, College of Architecture and Urban Planning, from the University of Washington (Seattle), where he was also an Integrated Graduate Education Research Training Fellow in Urban Ecology.