San Francisco Ballet Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson will conclude his tenure in the job in mid-2022. (Courtesy Erik Tomasson)

San Francisco Ballet Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson will conclude his tenure in the job in mid-2022. (Courtesy Erik Tomasson)

SF Ballet director Helgi Tomasson to step down in 2022

Choreographer has championed new works and classics since joining company in 1985

San Francisco Ballet’s longtime artistic director and principal choreographer Helgi Tomasson announced that he will be stepping down from the posts in mid-2022, following plans to continue to foster new works and return the troupe safely to live performances in the wake of pandemic restrictions.

“The unprecedented challenges we faced as individuals and as a community during 2020 only served to reconfirm for me the power of dance as a form of artistic expression, connection and humanity. Over the past 10 months, we had to innovate and completely reconceive how to bring dance to our audiences, since they could not come to us. Looking to the 2022 season, my aim is to build on these achievements and to bring the company back to the stage for live performances,” Tomasson said in a news release issued Wednesday.

“Despite or perhaps because of the year we all lived through together, the company has never been stronger than it is today. As we look ahead into the new year, the timing felt right to begin a transition to a new artistic director, who will build on this legacy and lead the company into its next chapter.”

As the ballet begins its first digital season, Tomasson will continue to lead the troupe and work with the Board of Trustees and other company leaders to ensure a smooth transition. A committee will embark on an international search for Tomasson’s successor.

Since becoming director of San Francisco Ballet in 1985, Tomasson – a venerated classical dancer with Harkness Ballet, the Joffrey Ballet and New York City Ballet — has choreographed over 50 ballets and championed new work, including 2018 Unbound Festival. During his tenure, the company has been recognized among the world’s best, and also has developed an internationally acclaimed school.

“Helgi is a visionary whose creativity, brilliance and stewardship of the ballet is reflected both in the caliber of the company’s work, as well as in the thoughtful transition plan that he helped conceive to support the organization’s ongoing vitality,” said Sunnie Evers, co-chair of the SF Ballet Board.

Despite the cancellation of the 2020 season due to the pandemic, 2020 saw the creation of new work, including a six-minute outdoor film “Dance of Dreams” directed by Benjamin Millepied and choreographed by Justin Peck, Dwight Rhoden, Janie Taylor and Christopher Wheeldon.

Tomasson also led the reconceptualization of the rapidly approaching 2021 season for a digital platform, with premieres by Cathy Marston, Danielle Rowe and Myles Thatcher conceived for film; story ballets including George Balanchine’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” which had only one performance before 2020’s city-wide shut down; and his own works, “Romeo & Juliet” and “Swan Lake.”

The troupe’s first virtual gala and performance, on Jan. 14, include excerpts of world premieres and from a new work Tomasson is creating for 2022.

Dancesan francisco news

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

After the pandemic hit, Twin Peaks Boulevard was closed to vehicle traffic, a situation lauded by open space advocates. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
New proposal to partially reopen Twin Peaks to vehicles pleases no one

Neighbors say closure brought crime into residential streets, while advocates seek more open space

Members of the Sheriff’s Department command staff wore masks at a swearing-in ceremony for Assistant Sheriff Tanzanika Carter. One attendee later tested positive. 
Courtesy SFSD
Sheriff sees increase in COVID-19 cases as 3 captains test positive

Command staff among 10 infected members in past week

Rainy weather is expected in the coming week. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Rainstorms, potential atmospheric river expected to drench Bay Area in coming week

By Eli Walsh Bay City News Foundation Multiple rainstorms, cold temperatures some… Continue reading

Lowell High School is considered an academically elite public school. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Students denounce ‘rampant, unchecked racism’ at Lowell after slurs flood anti-racism lesson

A lesson on anti-racism at Lowell High School on Wednesday was bombarded… Continue reading

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23), shown here against the San Antonio Spurs at Chase Center on January 20, was ejected from Thursday night’s game on a technical foul after he yelled at a teammate during a play. (Chris Victorio for the S.F. Examiner).
Warriors 119-101 loss to Knicks highlights Draymond Green’s value

Team struggles with fouls, lack of discipline in play

Most Read