Culture Monster

All the Arts, All the Time

« Previous Post | Culture Monster Home | Next Post »

San Francisco Ballet's distinctive profile

November 8, 2008 |  3:05 pm

Helgi Tomasson Helgi Tomasson, who has been artistic director of San Francisco Ballet since 1985, previously spent 15 years as a principal dancer with New York City Ballet, and he is scarcely the only danseur noble to have moved from the stage to backstage. Anthony Dowell, Peter Martins and the late Erik Bruhn are other examples. But how does such ex-dancers' experience in front of audiences affect the companies they run later?

Susan Josephs' story on the San Francisco troupe offers one point of view. Josephs quotes dance historian Janice Ross, director of the dance program at Stanford University (and author of a recent book on San Francisco Ballet published in conjunction with its 75th anniversary), as observing: "As a dancer, Helgi was clean, pure, classical yet distinct, and he was able to parlay this into an aesthetic for his company."

To view some images of Tomasson's dancers in action, go here.

-- Craig Fisher

Photo: Erik Tomasson / San Francisco Ballet