Helgi Tomasson: 35 Years of Artistry

Helgi Tomasson: 35 Years of Artistry (2020) celebrated Tomasson's 35th anniversary as the longest-serving, sole artistic director of San Francisco Ballet

During his tenure, Tomasson has choreographed more than 50 works, including five full-length ballets, the most by any company director in SF Ballet's history. The exhibit looks back at Tomasson's works for the company, highlighting the following full-length productions -- Swan Lake (1988/2009), The Sleeping Beauty (1990), Romeo & Juliet (1994), and Giselle (1999). 

About Helgi Tomasson:

Helgi Tomasson, one of the most venerated classical dancers of his generation, embarked on his 35th season with San Francisco Ballet in 2020. Born in Iceland, he danced with Harkness Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet, and New York City Ballet, where he distinguished himself as a dancer of technical purity, musicality, and intelligence. Tomasson assumed leadership of SF Ballet in 1985. Under his direction, SF Ballet has become a company widely recognized as one of the finest in the world. Tomasson has balanced devotion to the classics with an emphasis on new works, cultivating frequent collaborations and commissions with choreographers such as William Forsythe, Christopher Wheeldon, Alexei Ratmansky, Cathy Marston, and Mark Morris, among many others. He has choreographed more than 50 works for the Company, including full-length productions of Swan LakeThe Sleeping BeautyRomeo & Juliet (taped for Lincoln Center at the Movies' Great American Dance), Giselle, and Nutcracker (taped for PBS's Great Performances). He conceptualized the 1995 UNited We Dance festival, in which SF Ballet hosted 12 international companies; the 2008 New Works Festival, which included 10 world premieres by 10 acclaimed choreographers; and the 2018 Unbound: A Festival of New Works. A loyal supporter of the Museum of Performance + Design (MP+D) through the years, Tomasson has also connected SF Ballet to the world, through co-commissions with American Ballet Theatre, The Royal Ballet, and Dutch National Ballet; and major tours to Paris, London, New York City, China, and his native Iceland. 

Image credit: Helgi Tomasson // © Erik Tomasson

This exhibit is sponsored in part by a grant from Grants For the Arts.