Everyone loves dancing, especially when they know nobody is watching. For some, it’s when we pull our most genius dance moves ever. I like to think this was how dad dancing and the birdie dance was created. For others, it’s a chance to just let loose and let the rhythm take over. As the great Snap! once penned, ‘Rhythm is a dancer’. They definitely did a little bit of bedroom dancing.
All of this is great when confined to the secrecy of your bedroom, however the thought of these dance moves making their way online, for people to actually view with their own eyeballs, sounds like pure torture. No one needs to see my fist pumping and hip gyrating to ‘The Final Countdown‘.
Meet Helena Tesadale, whose YouTube channel is a treasure trove of videos of her basically bopping around. With over 1000 videos she is not biased. Helena has videos spanning across every possible genre, from Celine Dion and David Bowie, to Billy Talent and Major Lazer all undergoing the Teasdale treatment.Source: YouTube
With videos being regularly released over a two year period now, amounting to a staggering 40 videos per month, the view count remains primarily low (most under 100 views) which begs the question, why continue to make these videos if no one is watching them? The mystery surrounding the videos and the user Helena Teasdale was as guarded as Tutankhamun’s tomb. Helena it seemed was a figment of imagination and trying to reveal the identity of this unknown dancing source took some serious journalistic digging!
However, we are not the only ones who have been desperately scouring the internet. Several of the bands included in Helena’s line up have seen the videos and have, like us, become mystified and in awe of her hypnotic moves. Rebecca Need-Menear, lead singer of Anavae agreed stating: “I can’t tell if she’s just having fun or if she’s completely mental!”
The exploration into the world of Helena Teasdale eventually led us to a PDF hosted on the London College of Communication’s website where a student named Jocelyn Allen was discovered to be the creator of not only Helena Teasdale, but a project by the name of ‘Your Dedication Worries Me A Little’.
In order to shine some light on this sought after anomaly we spoke to Jocelyn to find out the real story behind Helena Teasdale and this mystery project.
HTF: So, after much searching, we managed to track you down! First things first, can you tell us about ‘Your Dedication Worries Me A Little’?
JA: I started the MA Photography course at the London College of Communication in January 2013 and when I applied I said that I wanted to make work based on my teenage diaries. When I was about 15 I used to walk around in bright green cords and had half of my hair cut really short, so people would often yell at me in the street (as well as my friends as we were ‘greasy rockers’). My diaries from that time are generally just stating what people said to me, my friends and what I think about myself, so I wanted to do something that related to that.
HTF: So how did this very unique idea occur to you?
JA: I think one night I was listening to music in my room when ‘We Are Scientists – Let’s See It’ came on and I started to dance to it and thought it would be funny to record it. I thought it was a bit silly, but meant I didn’t have to leave the house to do the project. I was very scared about doing the first few videos and uploading them. I’ve always liked dancing, but knew I was terrible.
HTF: And what is the dancing all about?
JA: Video is quite a new thing for me, most of my work is photography. Since 2009 I’d mainly been shooting self portraiture as a way for me to learn to love myself and my body, and grow my confidence. However taking photographs and then carefully selecting which ones you want to show is quite different to video. This project for me has really been about letting go more, and trying not to worry what people think about me. I’m also interested in the internet culture of comments. We live in a society now where you can constantly be judged
HTF: The dance moves have been envied, can you tell me where they have come from?
JA: I really don’t know… I think some I must have picked up subconsciously. I don’t prepare a routine beforehand (which is probably pretty obvious), I just move how my body wants to. I’m often daydreaming now when I do them, so I’m really not aware what I’m doing.
HTF: Being as there are over 1000 videos in your vault, how do you decide which band/song to use? There are some obscure ones in there!
JA: Before I started I already had a massive starred list on Spotify which I had been adding to since 2010, so I started to work through that though trying not to do too many of the same band. People often request songs now too, but I’ll only dance to it if I like it. That’s the criteria really – If I like it, I’ll dance to it.
HTF: And whats the reaction been like?
JA: It’s been more good than bad, which surprised me actually. The first mean comment I got was on M83 – My Tears Are Becoming A Sea, which is quite hard to dance to… I’m just swaying and someone said that ‘handicapped people should be monitored when on a computer’. I was a bit shocked but also happy as it meant that people were starting to find the videos. Some people realise they’re just about letting go and being yourself which is good. I mainly just get people telling me to smile more (my natural expression just looks a bit mean/sad and I’d find it weird smiling into a webcam). Source: Youtube
HTF: Out of all of your videos do you have a particular favourite?
JA: I think I prefer the ones where I lip sync. Gwen Stefani feat. Eve – Rich Girl, Celine Dion – It’s All Coming Back To Me Now and Bonnie Tyler – Holding Out For A Hero. My most-watched is Future Islands – Sun In The Morning.
HTF: Helena Teasdale was a very hard woman to find, why did you chose another name?
JA: I think I was a bit embarrassed at first, I didn’t want people to be able to Google me in the beginning and say ‘oh she’s an artist, she’s performing’. Though they’re under a different name, I’m not pretending to be someone else.
HTF: Finally how long do you see Helena performing for? Is this a fair spanning into old age thing?!
JA: I’m carrying on for now. I don’t see it as complete, though I think it will reach a natural end. At one point I would make 10 a day, 40 a week to reach 1000. Now I do 1 or 2 a fortnight or just when I feel like it/find a song I want to dance to.
So, do yourself a favour and take a few minutes to look at some of the quirky and downright unusual songs Jocelyn manages to get down to, it’s both an envious and bizarre experience. It’s a good lesson to live by, to not give a damn about others opinions and grasp life by its dancing balls. If this is too far-reaching for you though, just let it bring a little bit of lightness to an otherwise dreary day.
Check out all of Helena Teasdale’s videos here – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrUVCn2BxrecwFs8Jc593lQ