Contemporary Traditions Program Guest Choreographer
2012 School Programs
Helen Pickett studied dance at the San Francisco Ballet School. While in
school, she performed with the San Francisco Ballet under the direction of Michael Smuin and Lew Christensen, and later, Helgi Tomasson. For more than a decade, she performed as a dancer and actor with Ballet Frankfurt, directed by William Forsythe, becoming a principal in 1991. Pickett performed with The Wooster Group, directed by Elizabeth Le Compte, from 1998-2005. She was in the original cast of the OBIE Award-winning House/Lights as well as North Atlantic. Pickett choreographed her first piece, Etesian, for Boston Ballet in 2005. She received a New York Choreographic Institute Fellowship Award in September 2006 for a work in progress created for Boston Ballet. Also in 2006, she choreographed for The Sacramento Ballet and The Washington Ballet. Her commissions for 2007-08 include Boston Ballet, Louisville Ballet, Aspen/Santa Fe Ballet, Ballet X, Purchase University and Fordham University. During the past five years, she has collaborated, as an actress and choreographer, with video artists Eve Sussman, Toni Dove and Laurie Simmons. Pickett, who is a founding member of The Rufus Corporation, played Queen Mariana in the company's first film, 89 Seconds at Alcazar, which was directed by Sussman and 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 new feature length film, The Rape of the Sabine Women, premiered in New York at the IFC Theater. She portrayed Sally Rand in Dove's video installation and feature film, Spectropia. Pickett choreographed for Simmons' Music of Regret. Pickett teaches in Europe and the U.S. In addition to leading private workshops in New York, she has taught Forsythe-based improvisation and/or ballet for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Carte Blanche Company, Fordham University, New York University, Manhattan Marymount College, California Institute of the Arts, Pasadena School of Design, The Actor's Studio Drama School, The School at the Mark Morris Dance Center, The Wooster Group, (movement coach for Poor Theater), The Cyber Arts Festival at MIT, Kunsthogskolen in Oslo, Boston Ballet School, Purchase University, George Mason University and San Diego State University. Since 2005, Pickett has appeared as a guest artist with the Royal Ballet of Flanders in the title acting role of Impressing the Czar, choreographed by William Forsythe. In July 2008, Pickett will perform this piece at State Theater in New York. She will act in a new European feature film that will start shooting in 2008. Pickett's article "Considering Cezanne," was published in Dance Europe's April 2006 issue. This will be Pickett's second season as guest choreographer with the Contemporary Traditions Program.