Tiit Helimets (© Chris Hardy)
Joined as a principal dancer in 2005.
Born in Viljandi, Estonia, Tiit Helimets trained at Tallinn Ballet School and began his career as a soloist with Estonian National Ballet. He was promoted to principal dancer six months later, making Estonian dance history when he danced the role of Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake at age 18. He joined Birmingham Royal Ballet in 1999 and became a principal dancer at San Francisco Ballet in 2005.
Among Helimets’ major roles are Albrecht in Tomasson’s Giselle, Nutcracker Prince and King of the Snow in Tomasson’s Nutcracker, Prince Desiré in Tomasson’s The Sleeping Beauty, Prince Siegfried in Tomasson’s Swan Lake, Basilio in Tomasson/Possokhov’s Don Quixote, Gremin in Cranko’s Onegin, Prince in Neumeier’s The Little Mermaid, and Prince Gillaume in Wheeldon’s Cinderella. He created roles in Caniparoli’s Doublestop, Ibsen’s House, and Tears; Possokhov’s Swimmer (Humbert); and Wheeldon’s Ghosts.
His repertory includes Tomasson’s 7 for Eight, Caprice, Chi-Lin, The Fifth Season, On a Theme of Paganini, On Common Ground, and Trio; Balanchine’s Agon, Apollo, Allegro Brillante, Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet (2nd movement), “Diamonds,” Divertimento No. 15, The Four Temperaments, Scotch Symphony, Serenade (Dark Angel and Waltz), Stravinsky Violin Concerto, and Symphony in C; Adam’s A rose by any other name and Night; Ashton’s Symphonic Variations; Bintley’s The Dance House; Forsythe’s in the middle, somewhat elevated; Liang’s Symphonic Dances; Lifar’s Suite en Blanc; MacMillan’s Concerto (pas de deux) and Winter Dreams; van Manen’s Variations for Two Couples; McGregor’s Borderlands, Chroma, and Eden/Eden; Mrozewski’s Concordia; Nureyev’s Raymonda—Act III; Possokhov’s Firebird and Magrittomania; Ratmansky’s Russian Seasons and Shostakovich Trilogy (Piano Concerto #1); Robbins’ Glass Pieces and In the Night; Welch’s Naked; and Wheeldon’s Quaternary. Before joining San Francisco Ballet, he created roles in Bintley’s The Seasons, The Shakespeare Suite, Sylvia, The Orpheus Suite, and Les Petit Riens, as well as Siddiqui’s Krishna.
In 2015 Helimets guest taught at the Kansas City Ballet School summer intensive; danced at the 50th-anniversary gala at San Jose Dance Theatre in San Jose, California; and performed the Black Swan pas de deux from Swan Lake with Frances Chung at Allen Civic Ballet’s Fête des Beaux Artes in Allen, Texas. He organized a tour of Estonian National Ballet to San Francisco as well as the Estonian Festival in June 2013. In 2012 he created an installation at San Francisco’s de Young Museum featuring world premieres of a dance work and musical score. He choreographed AEG for Estonian National Ballet in 2011; and directed, produced, and performed in a tour to Estonia featuring San Francisco Ballet dancers in 2011. As a guest artist he danced Symphony in C with National Ballet of Canada, performed at the International Ballet Star Gala in Taipei, and danced Apollo with Birmingham Royal Ballet, all in 2008.