Principal Character Dancer

Tiit Helimets

Tiit Helimets


Born in Viljandi, Estonia, Tiit Helimets trained at Tallinn Ballet School and began his career as a soloist with Estonian National Ballet. At the age of 18, Helimets made history at Estonian National Ballet by being the youngest male dancer ever to perform the role of Siegfried in Swan Lake. In 1999, Helimets joined Birmingham Royal Ballet as a principal dancer, before joining San Francisco Ballet in 2005.

Helimets has danced nearly every major role in SF Ballet’s repertory including Helgi Tomasson’s Giselle (Albrecht), Nutcracker (Grand Pas de Deux Prince), The Sleeping Beauty (Prince Desiré), and Swan Lake (Prince Siegfried and Von Rothbart); Tomasson/Yuri Possokhov’s Don Quixote (Basilio); John Cranko’s Onegin (Gremin); John Neumeier’s The Little Mermaid (Prince, Poet); Liam Scarlett’s Frankenstein (Alphonse Frankenstein); and Christopher Wheeldon’s Cinderella (Prince Guillaume). He originated principal roles in Val Caniparoli’s Doublestop, Ibsen’s House, and Tears; Alonzo King’s The Collective Agreement; Edwaard Liang’s The Infinite Ocean; Possokhov’s Swimmer (Humbert); and Wheeldon’s Ghosts.

Helimets has received an Isadora Duncan Dance Award for Outstanding Performance for his 2015 performances of Giselle and the Award for Outstanding Performance in Estonia for guest appearances in The Sleeping Beauty and Romeo and Juliet.

After 18 years of being a Principal Dancer for SF Ballet, Helimets retired on stage in the role of the Clown in Danielle Rowe’s MADCAP, a role created for him specifically in mind. Helimets joined SF Ballet as a principal character dancer for the 2023–24 Season.