Hélène Lesterlin creates time-based art works that fuse theater, dance, puppetry, sound and visual art. Fascinated by stories, fables, memories, and songs, she mines history, archives, poetry, art and music to create her performances. Founded in 2012, Studio Reynard is home base for her work.
Her most recent theater work, Fox vs. Kingdom, is a satiric puppet show based on the medieval epic Reynard the Fox. It was developed as part of the St. Ann’s Warehouse Puppet Lab 2014, NYC (a nine-month workshop culminating in performances), shown in progress at Café Isegrim dinner salons, and supported residencies at Mount Tremper Arts and Drop Forge & Tool, as well as several grants. It premiered in October 2016.
Past works driven by historical research include: Overlook, a solo performance that channels voices from artist colonies in the 1920s-40s, with a linked exhibition, was created with the Woodstock Historical Society and the Byrdcliffe Guild (2014-2015, Woodstock, NY); Geographica, a site-specific improvised dance duet with an FM radio-based sound-score, responded to its Persian-inspired historic site and current events in the Middle East (2014, commissioned by Wave Farm for Groundswell at the Olana Estate, Hudson, NY); and Darkling, a transmogrifying solo dance with live interactive video was presented in the Cinedans Festival (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) and was last glimpsed at the Widow Jane Mine cave as part of the Subterranean Poetry Festival (2015, Rosendale, NY).
Hélène served as Director of Programs at Mount Tremper Arts, supporting year-round residencies and performances for contemporary artists. From 2005 – 2011, she served as founding Curator for Dance and Theater at EMPAC – the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. Concurrent to her curatorial work at EMPAC, she created projects with her then company, ATLAS Dance: Praxis (2007, HERE Arts Center, NYC), The Predator-Prey Equation (2005, multiple US venues), and The Gilded Pony Performance Festival that presented 50 artists over three days (2006). She was a founding member and performer in the improvisation group Emergent Scores Lab (ESL), engaging real-time composition practices in sound and movement (2006-2009). She dances and vocalizes with Zamboni, a group of improvisers, and sings with her Yale Slavic Chorus sisters as often as possible.
She has received generous support for her work, and has performed in the US, France, Taiwan. Support for recent work includes grants from the Decentralization Program of NYSCA/Arts Mid Hudson and from The Jim Henson Foundation. In 1999-2000, she spent a year in Taipei, Taiwan on a Luce Fellowship. She holds a BA in Visual Art (sculpture/performance) from Yale College and a MFA in Dance from Bennington College. She grew up in Paris, London and New York City. Dual citizen of the US and France, she now lives in upstate NY and is a mother of two.
Hélène is currently exploring what it means to create community in a new way by nurturing startups: she co-founded CO, a cooperative coworking space in Rhinebeck NY, and works to launch startups as part of the team at The Trillions Co.