Helen Pickett is a San Diego, California native. Helen has created over 40 ballets in the U.S. and Europe. From 2012-2017, she was Resident Choreographer for Atlanta Ballet. The Crucible, her new full length for Scottish Ballet, which premiered at Edinburgh International Festival, has won two awards, UK Theatre Critics Award and the Herald Angel Award, and will have its US premiere at Kennedy Center May 13-17, 2020 and further shows at Spoletto Festival, May 22-24. The Guardian newspaper called it, "…a riveting gift of a show." Helen won Best Choreographer and Best Dance Production for her full length, Camino Real, in 2015. Critic, Manning Harris wrote that Camino Real would “become a legend in the dance world.” In 2014, she won Best Choreographer for The Exiled.
From 2005-2020, Helen choreographed work for: Boston Ballet (6 works), Royal Ballet of Flanders, Ballet West (2 works), Dance Theatre of Harlem, Semper Oper/Dresden Ballet, Vienna State Opera, Scottish Ballet (3 works), Pennsylvania Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Alberta Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, Charlotte Ballet(2 works), Atlanta Ballet (4 works), Washington Ballet, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet (2 works), Louisville Ballet (2 works), Ballet X, and Smuin Ballet(2 works). In addition, she choreographed for the Chicago Lyric Opera, Les Troyens, and, in London, an evening length, multi-media musical, Voices of the Amazon.
The New York Choreographic Institute awarded her a Fellowship Initiative Grant in 2006. In 2007, Dance magazine named Helen one of 25 to Watch. She received a Choreographic Residency from Jacob’s Pillow in 2008. Helen was one of the first choreographers to receive the Jerome Robbins Foundation’s New Essential Works Grant.
Helen has collaborated, as an actress and choreographer, with installation video artists and filmmakers including Eve Sussman, Toni Dove and Laurie Simmons. Helen, a founding member of Eve Sussman’s The Rufus Corporation, played the Queen in 89 Seconds at Alcazar, which premiered at the 2004 Whitney Biennial. Helen also acted in Sussman’s feature length film, The Rape of the Sabine Women. She choreographed the bubble dance and played Sally Rand in Toni Dove’s video installation and film, Spectropia. Helen choreographed the dance sequences, for Laurie Simmons’, The Music of Regret, which premiered at Museum of Modern Art in New York.
For over a decade Helen performed with William Forsythe’s Ballett Frankfurt. During her last season with Ballet Frankfurt, Helen simultaneously performed with The Wooster Group, director, Elizabeth Le Compte, in the OBIE award winning House/Lights and North Atlantic. From 2005-2012, Helen reprised the speaking role, Agnes, as a guest artist with The Royal Ballet of Flanders, in William Forsythe’s Impressing the Czar. In 2009, Impressing the Czar received the Laurence Olivier Award, and in 2012, the Prix de la Critique award for outstanding performance of the year. From 2013-2017, Helen performed Agnes with Semper Oper Ballet.
Helen created a choreographic intensive for college age choreographers entitled, Choreographic Essentials, and a motivational creative workshop for the general public entitled Step into Courage. In addition, she has taught Forsythe Improvisation Technologies throughout the United States. Helen was Distinguished Visiting Artist at University of North Carolina School of the Arts from 2016-2020.
On May 20, 2020, Helen hosted her first interview of Creative Vitality Jam Sessions, a talk show she created for dance and theater artists. On August 30th, CVJS will have produced 31 interviews. June 2nd marked the first rehearsal for Home Studies, a Zoom Choreography Triptych.
In 2006, Dance Europe published Helen’s article, Considering Cezanne. In 2012, Emory University published her writing for the Vulnerability and the Human Condition Initiative, director Martha Fineman, that appeared on the Emory University School of Law website. In 2019, The American Stroke Association published the ode to her parents entitled, A Tribute to Love.
In 2016, Helen received an Honorary Doctorate from University of North Carolina School of the Arts. In 2011, Helen earned a Master of Fine Arts in Dance from Hollins University. For her Master’s Thesis she collaborated with Christopher Janney, sound and light architect.
Helen is represented by Kristopher McDowell.
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