Robert Helpmann

(redirected from Sir Robert Helpmann)
Sir Robert Helpmann
BirthplaceMount Gambier, South Australia, Australia
ballet dancer, actor, theatre director, choreographer

Helpmann, Robert


Born Apr. 9, 1909, in Mount Gambier, South Australia. Australian ballet dancer, choreographer, and actor.

In 1926, Helpmann joined A. P. Pavlova’s company during its Australian tour. In 1933 he moved to Great Britain, where he studied at N. de Valois’s school. From 1934 to 1950 he was a soloist with the Vic-Wells Ballet (renamed the Sadler’s Wells Ballet in 1942), where he partnered M. Fonteyn.

Helpmann’s dramatic gifts enabled him to portray various characters with particular depth. He was the first to perform the leading roles in many productions that defined the development of English ballet, including the Young Man in Nocturne (music by Delius) and the Red King in Checkmate (music by Bliss). Other roles included Hamlet in the ballet based on Shakespeare’s play, staged at the Old Vic Theater in London. Since the early 1960’s, Helpmann has been working in Australia, where he is co-director of the Australian Ballet, with P. van Praagh. His productions for the company include Williamson’s The Display (1964) and Sculthorpe’s Sun Music (1968).


Anthony, G. Robert Helpmann. London, 1946.


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Sir Robert Helpmann, with his talent for mime, dance and acting was the natural choice to play the eight different roles of the Devil's disguises.
It was the birthplace of Sir Robert Helpmann, and among the other claims to fame of the city and its region are its dormant maar volcanoes, of which the largest holds the Blue Lake, a huge lake of high quality drinking water which changes colour with the seasons.
I once asked Sir Robert Helpmann, the celebrated Australian dancer and choreographer, his opinion of classical ballet in the nude.