Helpmann, Sir Robert

▪ Australian dancer
Helpmann originally  spelled Helpman  
born April 9, 1909, Mount Gambier, Australia
died Sept. 28, 1986, Sydney

      Australian ballet dancer, choreographer, actor, and director. His career encompassed activities in ballet, theatre, and motion pictures.

      Helpmann first appeared on the stage in 1923 as a dancer in musical comedy, and then, after seeing Anna Pavlova (Pavlova, Anna) dance, he joined Pavlova's company and toured Australia and New Zealand. He remained in Australia for several years as a dancer and actor in the troupe managed by J.C. Williamson.

      In 1933 Helpmann went to London to study and later that year joined the Vic-Wells (later Sadler's Wells and now the Royal) Ballet. That same year he interpreted the important role of Satan in Ninette de Valois's Job and in the following year became premier danseur and danced opposite Alicia Markova in de Valois's Haunted Ballroom. He became the regular partner of prima ballerina Margot Fonteyn (Fonteyn, Dame Margot) in 1935. They were a popular pair, particularly during World War II, and danced a large classical repertoire. He left Sadler's Wells in 1950 but occasionally returned as guest artist and choreographer.

      Helpmann danced in the ballet films The Red Shoes (1948), which he also choreographed, and Tales of Hoffman (1950).

      As a choreographer, he created ballets that were strongly theatrical and often contained elements of violence. Hamlet (1942) was a study in motivation; the ballet began with Hamlet's death and probed backward into his memories and last thoughts. Helpmann created the leading role, as he did in such other of his works as Miracle in the Gorbals (1944) and Adam Zero (1946). In 1965 he became co-artistic director of the Australian Ballet, a post he held until 1976.

      Throughout his ballet career Helpmann was active in the theatre, both as an actor and as a producer and director. His first important part came in 1937–38 as Oberon in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream (Midsummer Night's Dream, A). Shylock in The Merchant of Venice and the title role in Hamlet were among the other Shakespearean roles he played. Helpmann also appeared in a wide variety of films including One of Our Aircraft Is Missing (1942), Henry V (1944), and Patrick (1978). In 1950 he produced the opera Madame Butterfly at Covent Garden in London, and he also directed plays including Murder in the Cathedral (1953), As You Like It (1955), and Duel of Angels (1960). In 1973 he codirected (with Rudolf Nureyev) and appeared in a filmed version of Don Quixote. He was knighted in 1968.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Helpmann, Sir Robert (Murray) — born April 9, 1909, Mount Gambier, Austl. died Sept. 28, 1986, Sydney Australian ballet dancer, choreographer, actor, and director. After dancing and acting in Australia, in 1933 he went to London to study, joining the Vic Wells Ballet (later… …   Universalium

  • Helpmann, Sir Robert (Murray) — (9 abr. 1909, Mount Gambier, Australia–28 sep. 1986, Sydney). Bailarín, coreógrafo, actor y director de teatro australiano. Después de bailar y actuar en Australia, en 1933 partió a estudiar a Londres y se incorporó al Vic Wells Ballet (más tarde …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • sir — /serr/, n. 1. a respectful or formal term of address used to a man: No, sir. 2. (cap.) the distinctive title of a knight or baronet: Sir Walter Scott. 3. (cap.) a title of respect for some notable personage of ancient times: Sir Pandarus of Troy …   Universalium

  • Robert — /rob euhrt/, n. 1. Henry Martyn /mahr tn/, 1837 1923, U.S. engineer and authority on parliamentary procedure: author of Robert s Rules of Order (1876, revised 1915). 2. a male given name: from Germanic words meaning glory and bright. * * * (as… …   Universalium

  • Robert — (as used in expressions) Adam, Robert Aldrich, Robert Altman, Robert (B.) Ashe, Arthur (Robert), Jr. Baden Powell (de Gilwell), Robert Stephenson Smyth, 1 barón Bakewell, Robert Baldwin, Robert Ballard Robert D(uane) Bly, Robert (Elwood) Borden,… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • sir — (Voz inglesa.) ► sustantivo masculino Tratamiento honorífico empleado por los británicos. * * * sir (ingl.; pronunc. [ser]) m. *Tratamiento de respeto usado en Inglaterra delante de un nombre de hombre o para dirigirse a la persona de que se… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Robert Helpmann — Sir Robert Helpmann en 1945 Données clés Nom de naissance Robert Murray Helpman …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Robert Helpmann — Infobox Person name=Sir Robert Helpmann caption=Portrait of Robert Helpmann in London circa 1945 birth date=birth date|1909|4|9|df=y birth place=Mount Gambier, South Australia, Australia death date=death date and age|1986|9|28|1909|4|9|df=y death …   Wikipedia

  • Helpmann — /ˈhɛlpmən/ (say helpmuhn) noun Sir Robert Murray, 1909–86, Australian dancer, choreographer, actor and director; co artistic director of the Australian Ballet 1965–74, and sole artistic director 1975–76; Australian of the Year 1965. Robert… …   Australian English dictionary

  • Helpmann Award — The Helpmann Awards recognise distinguished artistic achievement and excellence in Australia s live performing arts sectors. The recognised disciplines include musical and physical theatre, contemporary and classical music, opera, and dance, with …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.