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Darling / Helen Simoneau & Mary Kouyoumdjian

Vulnerability and intimacy subverted. Darling redirects assumptions about the correlations between strength, power, gender, and size.

The Latest Update


Posted on January 13, 2020 by Helen Simoneau

Looking forward to sharing this new work in March.

Tickets are now available at https://rhodesartscenter.org/darling/


In Darling, choreographer Helen Simoneau will be working collaboratively with composer, Mary Kouyoumdjian, and dancers, Kayla Farrish, Marielis Garcia, Donovan Reed, and Claire Westby to construct an evening-length piece to premiere at the Hanesbrands Theatre, March 5 & 6, 2020. Darling is being created through multiple residencies at the University of Buffalo, UNC School of the Arts, and at Tisch NYU. 

Darling will showcase reversals and dynamics of gender in dance partnering and employ original music to support those renderings. Simoneau is interested in examining relationships on every dimension. More than romance–how does touch inform relationship? The piece seeks to disrupt assumptions about strength and power in reference to the gender and size of the dancers. Dancers will be called to employ physicality and intricate craft to work through the ideas of the piece. Interchangeable casting and repetition of movement material performed by rotating casts of dancers will create a new form of legibility for viewers.

Mary Kouyoumdjian is an important voice in music composition. Together, the two artists are paying close attention to music and sound throughout the rehearsal process, allowing Kouyoumdjian to compose around the sound of dancers’ movement and breathing. Rehearsing collaboratively like this allows the piece to grow in real time. Simoneau and Kouyoumdjian continue to have conversations about intent, curiosities, and explorations. 

Photography: Olly Yung with Creative Direction: Eli Gray

Project Media

Paper Pianos
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Features: Mary Kouyoumdjian

You Are Not a Kid is the first movement of Paper Pianos written by Mary Kouyoumdjian and performed by Alarm Will Sound on July 30, 2016 at the Mizzou International Composers Festival. Kouyoumdjian’s work is emotional and personal while it brings others’ stories to the forefront. A passage beginning at 2:30 will weave Kouyoumdjian’s sound with Milad Yousufi, an Afghan refugee’s, words. “Intensely moving, boldly beautiful, this could be the future of a new kind of documentary that’s told primarily through music.” -Santa Barbara Independent

Land Bridge
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Features: Helen Simoneau

Choreographed by Helen Simoneau with featured performers and with music by Nathalie Joachim, Land Bridge was performed in March 2016 at the Hanesbrands Theatre and awarded the New Music USA grant. Here you will see how Joachim’s sound and Simoneau’s movement inform identity. “The metaphor of migration and identity is very clear in certain parts…and other sections transcend metaphor, playing with the energies of momentum and falling.”–Triad City Beat

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Features: Helen Simoneau

In rehearsal in Summer 2018, here is a preview of Darling. Choreographer Helen Simoneau discusses how dancers Burr Johnson and Claire Westby move beyond gender to examine relationship. Music is by Daniel Bindschedler.

Start and End Dates



Winston-Salem, North Carolina

1 update
Last update on January 13, 2020

Project Created By

Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Helen Simoneau is a native of Rimouski, Québec and artistic director of Helen Simoneau Danse. Based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina since 2004 and a U.S. citizen since 2010, she has received commissions from the American Dance Festival, the Bessie Schönberg Residency at The Yard, Springboard Danse Montréal, and the Swiss International Coaching Project in Zurich.…

In Collaboration With

Brooklyn, New York
Hudson, New York
Lighting Designer
Jackson Heights, New York


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