Main company rehearsals for the 09/10 season began today. Everyone came back looking lovely and there was great energy in the Capitol Theatre!
After company class taught by former Ballet West Principal Artist Qi Jiang, the dancers began rehearsals with Helen Pickett who is creating a new piece for this season’s INNOVATIONS.
Helen Pickett studied dance at The San Francisco Ballet School. While in school, she performed with San Francisco Ballet Company under the direction of Michael Smuin and Lew Christensen, and later, Helgi Tomasson.
For over a decade Helen danced, principal dancer, with Ballet Frankfurt, dir., William Forsythe. Helen’s contribution to Ballet Frankfurt included both acting and dancing roles. Upon retiring, Helen performed with The Wooster Group, dir. Elizabeth Le Compte, from 1998-2005. She was in the original cast of the OBIE award winning House/Lights. From 2005 to 2008, Helen revisited one of her favorite roles, Agnes, as a guest artist in William Forsythe’s Impressing the Czar with The Royal Ballet of Flanders. In London, at the Sadler’s Wells Theatre, the performance was given the Laurence Olivier Award for 2008.
In 2005, Mikko Nissinen, director of The Boston Ballet, offered Helen her first choreographic commission, Etesian. She was awarded a Fellowship Initiative Grant from The New York Choreographic Institute in September 2006, choreographed for Boston Ballet. In the same year, Helen choreographed for Sacramento Ballet and Washington Ballet. In 2007 and 2008, her commissions included EVENTIDE for Boston Ballet, Petal for Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, upon your held-out hand and a re-mount of Etesian for Louisville Ballet, and UNION for Ballet X. In 2007 Helen was named one of 25 to Watch from Dance magazine. April 2009 Jacob’s Pillow awarded Helen a residency. In the 2009/10 season, Helen’s commissions include Ballet West, Boston Ballet, Royal Ballet of Flanders, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet and Oklahoma Ballet. 2009 marked the inception of Helen’s company, Helen Pickett Dance.
Helen has collaborated, as an actress and choreographer, with installation video artists and filmmakers since 2002. Helen, a founding member of The Rufus Corporation, director Eve Sussman, played the Queen in 89 Seconds at Alcazar, which was shown at the 2004 Whitney Biennial, and now is in the permanent collection at Museum of Modern Art in New York. In February 2007, The Rufus Corporation’s feature length film, The Rape of The Sabine Women, premiered in New York at the IFC Theater. She also played Sally Rand in Toni Dove’s video installation and feature film, Spectropia.
Helen has taught, Forsythe-based improvisation, her workshop entitled The Expansive Artist and ballet throughout Europe and the United States.
Helen’s article Considering Cezanne, was published in Dance Europe’s April 2006 issue. For more info: www.helenpickett.com