Artistic director of San Francisco Ballet honored in Iceland Skip to content

Artistic director of San Francisco Ballet honored in Iceland

Icelander Helgi Tómasson, the artistic director of the San Francisco Ballet, was honored with the Grand Cross of the Falcon Order, the grandest Icelandic reward, at a special ceremony at the presidential residence Bessastadir yesterday.

“I am extremely proud to receive this from my own nation,” Tómasson said as he received the medal from Iceland’s President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson. Morgunbladid reports.

Fifty years have passed since an Icelander was given the Grand Cross for his contribution to culture and art. In 1957 the medal was given to Nobel Prize winner Halldór Laxness. Usually only heads of state are rewarded with the Grand Cross.

“I feel nervous to be taken into such a group; this is fantastic. I could never imagine this would happen; it didn’t cross my mind,” Tómasson told Morgunbladid.

Tómasson is in Iceland with a large group of dancers from the San Francisco Ballet to perform in Reykjavík City Theater in relation to the Reykjavík Arts Festival.

Next year the San Francisco Ballet celebrates its 70th anniversary and on that occasion ten pieces by Tómasson will be staged. “It is work seven days of week and all day,” the artistic director said.

Tómasson (born 1942) worked as a dancer in New York for 25 years before he was hired as the artistic director of the San Francisco Ballet in 1985, which is the first professional dance company in the United States.

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