Heléna Melone (MA, Interdisciplinary Studies from Lesley University & MA, English Literature; BA, Studio Art & English from UNH) danced 'til dawn with Roma (“gypsies”) in their caves in Sacra Monte, Granada, is is an international teacher and performer, and has trained with women’s empowerment facilitator, Alisa Starkweather. A Maine Arts Commission Arts Educator, writing coach, and dance therapist, she brings to her work almost 25 years of experience in instruction and facilitation, including international dance teaching & performance and 20 years of interdisciplinary instruction at Phillips Exeter Academy. Now living in mid-coast Maine, she has widened her attention to include visual arts, painting on silk the potent beauty & magical vitality of the natural world, her greatest teacher, and helping others realize & claim their potential through the power of art and personal self-expression.
In 2010 she was selected to participate in the American Top Belly Dancer competition as well as for the prestigious New York Theatrical Belly Dance Show in 2011. She has trained extensively, both in many styles of “belly” dance, including Turkish Roman, as well as in Flamenco, studying throughout the U.S. and in Egypt, Turkey and Spain. Interviewed for her knowledge of flamenco for the novel "Flamenco Academy," as well as for Oprah magazine, she is an arts educator with an M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies/Dance Therapy from Lesley University. In addition to teaching at the Belfast Dance Studio, Heléna is a dance teacher and choreographer at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, NH, and a juried arts educator for the Maine Arts Commission. Her work in schools focuses on teaching both Andalusian and Middle Eastern dance, music, and culture, as well as helping Maine’s 4th-graders learn the hard science of local ecosystems through “Dancescapes,” an intellectual, imaginative, and movement-based interactive process she created for children to experience and learn from both their own bodies and the environment. She has participated every year but one since the inception of Women's Works, which, in 2015, celebrated its 10th annual show of women dancers in mid-coast Maine and beyond.
Favorite childhood memories include rainy days spent drawing with two of her three brothers, or playing in the fields and forests of the conservation land abutting their yard. From early on, art and nature have been sources of inspiration, strength, and solace. After putting drawing aside for a while, it was through belly dance that she gradually found her way back. Dyeing silk veils for dance turned to painting on them which led to wanting to focus more on the painting itself, which led to work in galleries and art shows.
Since finding dance to be the pathway out of dark places to wholeness and healing, Heléna pursued dance therapy and other modes of empowering personal work, including training sessions in Shadow Work, as well as studying the Inipi ceremony with the late Gilbert Walking Bull, and two years of training with Alisa Starkweather.