Inspiration by Tiit Helimets, Principal Dancer of San Francisco Ballet | Friday Nights at the de Young

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Photo by Alexander Reneff-Olson
featuring Tiit Helimets, principal dancer of San Francisco Ballet

Inspiration by Tiit Helimets
This evening features a multifaceted installation inspired by Estonia, the home country of Tiit Helimets, including the premiere of Blue, Black and White.

Part I: Film screening of Eastern Odyssey

6:30–7:15 pm

This film chronicles the journey of Helimets back to Estonia with a group of dancers from San Francisco Ballet, Ballet San Jose, and Milwaukee Ballet. Directed by Quinn Wharton

Part II: Film screening of Blue, Black, and White

7:15 pm

Created by Tiit Helimets with Rapt Productions, this film tells the story of how visual art can be created through dance. Helimets uses the three colors in the flag of his home country, Estonia, as three different canvases, and uses his expertise of dance as a vehicle to paint each canvas with opposing colors. Three principal dancers from San Francisco Ballet will trace the paint with their feet on the canvas while dancing original choreography. 

Part III: Performance

7:45–8:15 pm

This 28-minute multidisciplinary installation encompasses three movements inspired by the colors of the Estonian flag.

  • The first movement is inspired by the color blue, with a peaceful dance filled with ease and air representing the sky. Two characters representing immortal gods enter the space and interact with each other.
  • The second movement is inspired by black, which represents the earth. The immortal gods have conversations about the trees that grow from earth and how they protected the people of Estonia during war. The dancers perform movements depicting the people’s struggle during the war. This entire movement shows the effects of war on the nation.
  • The third movement is inspired by hope, which is represented by the color white. Spirits rise from earth and reunite with the living. An overwhelming joy surrounds the characters on the stage. They form a chain, holding hands against oppression, and stand for freedom, which is won in the end.

While the performance is taking place in Wilsey Court, Dustin Shane paints in the Piazzoni Murals Room utilizing the concept of synesthesia, with his painting performance projected on the walls in Wilsey Court. See how the music affects the painter and what colors he sees when he hears this music for the first time.

This event will end with a question-and answer-session in front of the stage in Wilsey Court.

Ticket Information

Public programs are free and open to the public. Tickets are required for admission to the galleries and the special exhibitions Rudolf Nureyev: A Life in Dance and The William S. Paley Collection: A Taste for Modernism.

Contact Information

Gregory Stock