Karen McShane-Hellenbrand

Teaching Faculty/Undergraduate Advisor/Dance Studies Certificate Director


B125B Lathrop Hall

1050 University Ave

Madison, WI 53706-1304

Mcshane-Hellenbrand, Karen

Download CV   2020 National Water Dance   National Dance Education Organization (NDEO)   Wisconsin Dance Council  

Karen McShane-Hellenbrand, M.F.A., Faculty Associate. She teaches a wide range of classes for the Dance Department. In addition, she serves the Dance Department’s Outreach and Recruitment efforts. Karen is an active choreographer and performer. Her lifelong professional goals have been to promote access to dance education for children and adults and to embody professionalism as an artist/educator.


  • MFA Performance and Choreography, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1989
  • BS Dance Education K-12, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1986

Select Creative Works

  • McShane-Hellenbrand, Karen A. (Choreographer), "red STAINS," UW Dancers with Natalia Hildner, Dance Department Faculty Concert, Madison, Wisconsin , USA. (February 4, 2016 - February 13, 2016).
    A collaborative work that features the Internationally renowned Kathak Indian Classical dancer and choreographer Natalia Hildner, artist, Kelly Parks-Snider, and six Dance Department students. What began as a simple research project into the history, culture, and nature of aprons worn by both men and women, and saris (a cloth wrap worn by women), developed into a multi-faceted collaborative work. The piece is a collage of our shared female experiences across cultures reflecting the past and coming face to face with the power dynamics of the present.
  • "Organa," UW-Madison Dance Department Students & Guest Performer, UW-Madison Dance Department, 2014 Faculty Concert "UNEARTH", (February 6, 2014 - February 15, 2014).
    “Organa” is a quartet for four dancers in collaboration with classical vocalist, Sarah Leuwerke. Created with a strict 32 bar rhythmic counterpoint for four dancers in silence. Sarah suggested Mahler’s Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen and created a musical arrangement specific to the work. The dissonant counterpoint is reflected in the dancer’s relationships within the music/dance symbiosis. Water was the inspiration for the entire work.
  • McShane-Hellenbrand, Karen A., "Portal," UW-Madison Dance Department Students, UW-Madison Dance Department, Faculty Dance Concert "Pillars", Madison, WI, USA. (February 14, 2013 - February 23, 2013).
    Portal is a Contemporary work for six dancers. The dancing reflects a juxtaposition of style and mood which matches a similar musical construct composed for this piece. Inspiration for the work was derived from Native American ruins in Arizona, Cathedral Rock, the Chapel of the Holy Cross and popular culture and cultural performance in Roadside Shrines. Karen
    “The music of Portal derives from a unique marriage of popular and classical music. The soundscape at times supports the dancers and sometimes relies on them; sometimes it is urgent and insistent, sometimes peaceful and calm; sometimes new, sometimes old. Kid Cudi’s “The Prayer,” Band of Horses’ “The Funeral,” and Tchaikovski’s “Hymn of the Cherubim” are arranged, edited, layered, cut up, moved about and put back together again, with original music that bridges the gap our culture has made between what is new and what is old. This gap is not so big. One must remember that “classical” music was once “popular,” and that the styles in which we write music have not changed that much over the years. Sounds are simply vibrations. Like human beings, they move at different speeds.” Liam Moore, Composer
  • McShane-Hellenbrand, Karen A., "Veneer," UW-Madison Dance Department Students, UW-Madison Dance Department, Faculty Dance Concert "Latitudes", Madison, WI, USA. (February 2, 2012 - February 5, 2012).
    Quintet: Horrific and frightening historical events have happened beneath the propaganda of appearances, hidden behind the veil of beauty, and marketed through exploitation of trust people have for things and beliefs they hold dear(the old, classical, and traditional). Examples of deception/evil were motivations for this work.

Select Publications

  • McShane-Hellenbrand, K. A., Leonard, A. E., & Hellenbrand, L. (2014). Leading by Design: A Collaborative and Creative Leadership Framework for Dance Integration in P–12 Schools. Journal of Dance Education, 14(3) Rutledge Taylor & Francis Group.
  • McShane-Hellenbrand, K. A., & Leonard, A. E. (2012). K-5 Student Experiences in a Dance Residency: A Case Study. Journal of Dance Education, 12(3) Rutledge Taylor & Francis Group.
  • McShane-Hellenbrand, K. A. (2009). Creative Wisconsin Summit Madison: Wisconsin Dance Council. , 36 Madison, WI: Wisconsin Dance Council.
  • McShane-Hellenbrand, K. A. (2008). The Legacy of the Wisconsin Idea for Dance. T. K. Hagood (Ed.), Legacy in Dance Education Essays and Interviews on Values, Practices, and People, 137-142. New York: Cambria.

Select Presentations

  • McShane-Hellenbrand, K. A. (2013, October - 2013, October). Dancing Under A Water Umbrella: An Arts Integration Model for Public Education. presented at the National Dance Education Organization Conference, Miami, Fl.