Robert Helpmann

(redirected from Robert M. Helpmann)
Sir Robert Helpmann
BirthplaceMount Gambier, South Australia, Australia
ballet dancer, actor, theatre director, choreographer
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.