MS Helen Herbertson

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  • Academic

Research expertise

  • Practice-led research in dance with a focus on performance and choreography (performance and choreography)
A seminal figure in Australian dance Helen was honoured with the Kenneth Myer Medallion for Distinguished Contribution to the Performing Arts in 2007. A very experienced arts practitioner she has worked across many facets of the arts profession including significant periods as choreographer, artistic director, independent producer, project manager, teacher, mentor, board member and artistic advisor. As a performer, choreographer and creative collaborator, Helen has been crafting performance for more than four decades, regularly presenting in Australian and international festivals (Glasgow, Dublin, Paris, Singapore, Portland, Tokyo, New York, Zurich). Her work is regularly supported with grants from Australia Council, Arts Victoria with numerous Green Room Nominations including Awards for Best Production, Original Choreography, Direction, Outstanding Creative Collaboration and the inaugural Australian Dance Award for Independent dance. Individual Awards include: - Australian representative at the Oz/NZ Choreographic Courses (1972/2000), an Australian Bicentennial Travel Scholarship (1988), residency at The Paris Studio (1994) – Cite International des Arts, an Artist in Residence appointment at the Dance Department UWS, Nepean (1995), a Fellowship from the Dance Fund, Australia Council (1997/98), an Asialink Residency in Singapore with Theatreworks (2000) and currently engaged in the IETM Australia Council Collaborations Project which will initiate residency exchange between Australian and Finnish dance artists. Helen has been active in the development of Australian dance, dancers and choreographers through a variety of leadership and advisory roles: - Artistic Director – Danceworks (89-97), Artistic Director – Dancehouse (01-03), Member of the Board of Green Mill Dance Project, Committee of Management - Moriarty’s Project, Member (1997-) and Deputy Chair (1998) of the Dance Fund, Australia Council, member of course advisory groups, assessment panels and examiner of Masters and PhD. She holds a Master of Arts from Victoria University (2003 Professional Achievement Award) and a Graduate Diploma in Information Management (Archives) at Monash University including practicum work at the Performing Arts Museum and the Melbourne University Archive (1998). Helen is engaged with young artists through education, mentorship and continues to play a key role in the development of dance in Australia through various peer advisory positions. A sort after performance coach she has worked internationally in residencies in Paris, Glasgow Singapore and Finland. Helen’s key areas of teaching and research lie in choreography and performance. Her own choreographic interests focus on the dynamic flow between people and place – the interaction of body and landscape or situation – interior life with light, form and place. Fusing the development of an expressive, physical language with a detailed exploration of the performance site, the work emphasises the integration of lighting and design while working collaboratively, from inception with performers and creative teams. The work investigates the fine dialogue between choreography and performance. How the framing of a detailed and exact physicality can be done within a spacious performance possibility and how intimate, human sized presentation contexts can be a vehicle for imaginative, immersive audience experiences.

Subject Areas

  • The Performing Arts (incl. Theatre and Dance)
  • Dance

Available for supervision

Practice-led research in dance with a focus on performance and choreography . a particular interest in choreographic form and interdisciplinary approaches and in new performance making through collaboration.

Contact Details

Phone Number: 96859392


Publications of Creative Research

ASKER D, HERBERTSON H (2012), Latitudinal Conversations

Journal Articles Refereed

ASKER D, HERBERTSON H (2013), Latitudinal Conversations: Journal Article, JAR: Journal for Artistic Research, Vol 1, Issue 4



Morphia Series


Morphia Series, Baryshnikov Arts Centre


The Boom Project, Arts House


Sunstruck, Theatre du Soleil, Paris, performance at June Events festival, Paris, 07/06/2012 - 17/06/2012


BACH SUITES, 45 Downstairs, Melbourne, A re-imagining of the Bach Cello suites produced by the Australian National Academy of Music. LIve performance blending choreography, movement, space and light in dialogue with traditional instrumental performance. Cellist of the Academy, Cello master Howard Penny, Choreographer Helen Herbertson, Designer Ben Cobham, Dancers Michelle Heaven & John Salisbury.
Corbatus #2, Atelier de Paris, Carolyn Carlson, A live performance with Rosalind Crisp, Andrew Morrish and Helen herbertson shwaring choreographic practice
SUNSTRUCK Dance Massive Melbourne, Nth Melbourne Town Hall, Performance of new work


Sunstruck Dublin Dance Festival, Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin, UK Premiere of new work
SUNSTRUCK Rencontres Choregraphique Internationale de Seine Saint-Denis, La Chaufferie Theatre, Saint-Denis, French Premiere of New work


Morphia Series Dance Massive, Nth Melbourne Town Hall, Morphia Series at the Dance Massive Festival
Morphia Series Performance Space, Carriageworks Theatre, Performance Space, Sydney, Sydney Premiere of Morphia Series as double bill
Sunstruck Performance Space, Carriageworks Theatre, Sydney, Sydney premiere of new work


SUNSTRUCK, Shed 4, Docklands, Premiere of new choreographic work at the 2008 Melbourne International Festival of the Arts; Conceived, Devised & Directed by Helen Herbertson


EXD - with joy 1-9, Lucy Guerin Inc Studio, Solo dance performance as part of Pieces for Small Spaces
Strike 1 APAP, PS 122 New York, US premiere presented at American Performing Arts Presenters Conference

Education and Training

  • Master of Arts M.A , Victoria University of Technology, 2004
  • Graduate Diploma in Information Management Grad.Dip.IM , Monash University, 1998
  • Diploma of Teaching Dip.T , Queensland University of Technology, 1970

Awards and honours

  • 2007 Kenneth Myer Medallion for Distinguished Contribution to the Performing Arts, Victorian Arts Centre, 2007
  • 2003 Australian Dance Award for Independent Dance - Morphia Series, Australian Dance Awards, 2003
  • Green Room Dance Award for Outstanding Creative Collaboration - Delirium, Green Room Awards Association, 1999
  • The Betty Pounder Award for Original Choreography - Descansos...resting places, Green Room Awards Association, 1996
  • ABC Radio National Fringe Award for Movement - Physical Business, ABC Radio, 1994
  • Green Room Dance Award for Best Dance Production - No Strings Attached, Green Room Awards Association, 1993