Helgi Tomasson has long made his home in the world of professional ballet. As a young man, he realized his own gift for movement. It was a realization that would change his life. In the coming years, he would dance with many companies all over the world. Ultimately, he was tapped to head the prestigious San Francisco Ballet. Now, he opens up a new chapter in his life as the company’s leader. He’s been the company’s principal choreographer and artistic director for over three decades. In the process, he’s been instrumental in shaping the company’s direction. He’s also taken great joy in passing on what he’s learned to a brand new generation of dancers. He is planning to step away from his heavy workload in 2022.
One of his goals in stepping down is finding more time to be with his wife and family. He’s also giving the company enough time to begin their search for someone to replace him. At the same time, it’s clear that he’s made his mark on the way the company operates. He has done a great deal to help shape the image of the company and help dancers learn proper technique in the process. Company officials have repeatedly lauded his work. They describe him as a man with creativity and vision. The long goodbye as he leaves will help the company pay tribute to his life and work here in one of the most important of all ballet companies in the United States.
Before he steps down, Tomasson plans to engage in many efforts to bring ballet to the public. They are going to stage a virtual gala performance in January. This gives him a chance to show choreographers to the public that he believes of note. Danielle Rowe, Cathy Marston and Myles Thatcher are just three of the many people who have found him to be an ally willing to take chances and explore new directions in movement. Their work will be streamed to the public. This is a process that Tomasson has been engaging in since he first came to the world of dance as a young man. He also wants to do what he can to help company dancers get back on stage in front of a live audience in the coming year.
A Great Career
Tomasson began his own dance career in his native Iceland. He moved in his teens to Copenhagen to dance there. As a young man, he was noticed by Jerome Robbins. One of the world’s most famous dancers and choreographers, Robbins helped him earn a place at the prestigious School of American Ballet in the heart of New York City. Here, he earned additional acclaim and was accepted at the Joffrey Ballet. He would later enter and win medals at competitions. This lead to a call from the New York City Ballet. He was given the role of principal. The move to head San Francisco Ballet marks the capstone of his career.