ARTS (Dance)

Sir Robert Helpmann
Australia Crest

Dancer and actor born in Mt. Gambier, South Australia on 9th April, 1909.

He began his dance training as a child and studied with the touring Pavlova company in 1926. In Sydney, in 1927, he first appeared professionally.

In 1933 he joined the Vic-Wells Ballet (which later became Sadler's Wells and later the Royal Ballet) in London. He was principal dancer from 1933-1950 and danced opposite Margot Fonteyn in the 1940s.

Sir Robert Helpmann
Sir Robert Helpmann

Helpmann produced his own ballets - Comus in 1942, Hamlet in 1942, Miracle in the Gorbals in 1946 and Adam Zero in 1946.

He took to acting Shakespeare at the Stratford Festival and at the Old Vic theatre company in London. He appeared in many films including The Tales Of Hoffmann.

From 1965-74 he co-directed the Australian Ballet and was sole director in 1975-76, ballets being performed including The Merry Widow, Sun Music and Elektra.

In 1965 he was Australian of the Year and was later knighted in 1968.

Helpmann died in 1986.

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