Wilhemeena's current life/art practice includes clay, poetry, dance, ritual and installation- an alchemy of life....

willabud by Gaby 2.jpg

Artist profile

Wilhemeena Isabella Monroe has been working in the areas of theatre, dance, interdisciplinary-media, performance–based art and installation and poetry for over two decades.

During this time, she has been involved in producing hundreds of events and films in New Zealand, Europe and the USA and has performed for many independent choreographers and artists around the globe. She has produced, directed, choreographed, performed and installed more than 31 of her own creative works, from solos to group extravaganzas with casts of over 200.

From 2000 to 2012 she worked as the most prominent Creative for The Human Agency, creating event concepts and choreographing/producing corporate and large scale events. Working under her own eco-events brand and working alongside Robert Blanshard had her choreographing and designing music videos and live events for high profile NZ artists such as Labretta and the Motel Six, Minut, Charlie Ash and The Mamaku Project and the closing ceremony and after party for the 2008 NZ Music Awards, and many other high profile events.....


Including: Creative director/choreographer of The Butterfly Zoo, and Living Lounge at SPLORE 2008, Portage Ceramic Awards 2008; assistant director/choreographer for the Trash To Fashion Awards 2004-2009, on-set choreographer for NZ short film Auld Lang Syne; Choreographer for events for Sculpture on the Gulf, Auckland Theatre Company, AMEX, SUBARU, SOLITON, Harveys, Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, DAWSONS, Nelson Festival and the opening for Miranda Brown’s collection at New Zealand Fashion Week 2004, among others.


In 2007, Wilhemeena’s short film Too Close was featured in the Nelson Arts Festival and in 2004 in the Body Festival in Christchurch. Her short film Asylum was chosen for the 34th International Film Festival in New Zealand, Pulse Field Festival in Atlanta, Georgia, USA in 2002, and in 2007 also featured at Nelson Arts Festival.



 In 2007 she was chosen for the Ex-it 07 residency in Germany, and was a guest speaker and facilitator at the Intersections: Dance, Health and Well-being conference in Auckland.  She was chosen as a choreographer for the 2002 Choreographic Platform and continued as Co-director of Platform from 2003 – 2006.


She has taught improvisation, choreography, contemporary technique and SRT™ as artist in residence at Milton Academy in Boston, and has taught workshops in various locations in Australia and the USA, including visiting artist workshops for Dappin Butoh, Liminal Dance Theatre and The BodyCartography Project.


She has taught at The Performing Arts School of New Zealand, the Nelson Lakes Mountain Jam, Tempo Festival, Dance Your Socks Off Festival, the Tertiary Dance Festival and within the wider New Zealand dance community including company classes for Touch Compass Dance Trust and Atamira. She was a part-time tutor teaching SRT™ and choreography at the Bachelor of Dance programs at UNITEC, Auckland University and at AUT. 


Passionate about Ecology, Wilhemeena developed a new primary school curriculum combining ecology, fashion and performing arts and gifted the curriculum to the Cook Islands Ministry of Education to use in their schools. She traveled to Rarotonga and Aitutaki in 2009 to present and teach the curriculum, and it is now used by primary schools throughout the Cook Islands. 

She was a dedicated member of the Board for TEMPO, New Zealand’s Festival of Dance for 10 years, from 2000 to 2010.


Aesthetically beautiful and articulately crafted, Wilhemeena creates majestic imagery and breathtaking visages with a gift for the strange, bizarre and extravagantly spectacular
— The Human Agency
Wilhemeena is a gifted artist moving with beauty and elegance. Her performances are strong and compelling with satiric wit. She has something to say with a sense of urgency. I believe she has a bright future and will make an artistic contribution to the culture in which she lives
— Joan Skinner, Founder of SRTTM
Wilhemeena is the rarest of all dance artists. She is an exceptional dancer, choreographer, improviser, teacher and administrator. She is a professional in every sense of the word with the added extra-attraction of a warm and caring heart. Her studio in Auckland is destined to become a centre for creative development in New Zealand. It is a reflection of her sense of beauty and care for the human spirit and wellbeing of planet earth. Add her youth to the equation and you have the potential of someone who will be a positive influence for many people in the years to come
— Al Wunder - Author and Founder of Theatre of the Ordinary
In her own movement, is a wonderful sense of genuine enquiry and the desire to explore both self and related concepts, which surfaces through a growing mastery of the sweetly lyrical, to the mischievous, to the deeply and sometimes darkly poignant. Wilhemeena takes both the benign and the frightening qualities of our existence - in all its vagaries, provides us with a feast for our perception and allows us to part with the knowledge that in New Zealand today, there is one artist at least, who is not afraid to demonstrate that artistry publicly, in a broad range of challenging situations.
— Mike Baker - Coriolis Dance Company
It was one of the best shows - if not the best - I have been to since writing this column (Butterfly Zoo 2008)
— - Bridgett Saunders, Sunday Star Times
One of the most superb arts events this city has ever seen. This performance extravaganza that held a very large audience spellbound over the whole evening” (Portage Ceramic Awards 2008)
— Naomi McCleary - Waitakere City Arts Advisor
Wilhemeena is a performance artist of great influence - both politically and personally. Her work brings challenge, healing, health, true beauty and vibrancy to the earth. She has special insight into the true/core nature of things which she makes visible through her art. Transparency is the first step to any kind of social change or healing or development. The next is education. It is extremely important work I believe. When handled with emotional integrity, it gives people space and choice in their responses. Wilhemeena has the ability to do this.
— Linda Parker-Wendt
Wilhemeena Monroe is an internationally reknowned dancer, choreographer and teacher...we are thrilled to have Wilhemeena as part of our festival this year! Monroe’s work in the groundbreaking area of arts and ecology is unique for the whole festival.
Monroe is a somatic educator and movement artist, as well as Director of SOUL CENTRE in New Zealand, exemplifying an unusual and inspiring blend of creative and socially-conscious work.
In order for SEEDS to address global concerns of ecology, we are relying on the expertise of leaders from various regions to come together for dialogue, discussion and education. We have selected Wilhemeena to be amongst this international team of artists, scientists and educators. Wilhemeena offers a unique expertise, and can provide the SEEDS festival with a perspective that none others can share quite as articulately.
— - Margit Galager Co-director of Earthdance, Massachusetts, USA and Artistic Director of SEEDS (Somatic Experiments in Earth, Dance and Science)
Wilhemeena Monroe has taught several courses and has been invited to offer several guest lectures within the Dance Studies Programme, The University of Auckland. Wilhemeena has always brought her expertise, good humour and genuine enthusiasm into every session. Students and staff have appreciated her generous spirit and authentic practice and we have great respect for her input into the New Zealand Dance Industry.
— - Associate Professor Ralph Buck, Head of Dance Studies Programme, National Institute of Creative Arts and Industries, University of Auckland
She is an artist of the utmost integrity, both in the expression of her work and is scrupulous in her dealings with others. She has an innate sense of responsibility and commitment, and seeks excellence in every aspect of her work and life, the two of which I believe are closely intertwined. On a professional level, I have rarely encountered an artist as highly self-motivated and demanding of respect as Wilhemeena.
— Lissa Meridan – Director of Electronic Music Studios, School of Music, Victoria University
I have great admiration for Wilhemeena’s abilities as a choreographer to oscillate between intensely personal solo works to large scale works dealing with social commentary, and the courage and flair she has in dealing with her subject matter. Her work reflects very relevant and important issues to do with the battle of the sexes, within love and sexuality, from a woman’s honest and incisive perspective. Her sometimes grotesque parody and intensity is influenced by such internationally acclaimed and revered choreographers as Pina Bausch, and crosses the borders between dance and performance art to reflect and parade realities which pure dance cannot reveal. The importance of this kind of work in NZ dance cannot be enough stressed and the integrity of Wilhemeena’s work and practice is also rarely found here. The effortless ability of Wilhemeena to integrate, be it via collaboration or alone, the mediums of video and sound into her dance work, makes her a highly valuable and very informed interdisciplinary artist within the NZ dance community.
— Alexa Wilson, New Zealand choreographer, dancer and filmmaker - currently residing in Berlin
willa blue dress flying.jpg