We Love How These Dancer Dads Support Their Dancing Kids
This Father’s Day, we want to highlight the dancing father–child duos in the ballet world. When family legacies include generations of dancers, it is exciting to see how the dancing dads support their young ones as they embark on their own ballet journeys. Take a look at these artistic families and celebrate dancing dads today, and don’t forget to thank the father figures in your life who are bursting with pride about you, too.
San Francisco Ballet principal Tiit Helimets
Tiit Helimets plays many roles offstage as the father, coach, dance partner and cheerleader of Chloe, his 11-year-old daughter with former San Francisco Ballet principal Molly Smolen. His social media posts are full of proud-papa moments, like a TikTok he posted of Chloe practicing pirouettes on pointe. And he frequently posts videos of the pair taking class together, with both of their long limbs and banana feet moving in sync.
They both took to the stage earlier this year in San Francisco Ballet’s Don Quixote. Helimets proudly wrote on Instagram: “After having danced the beggar boys, seguidilla, toreadors, Espada, and Basilio in Don Quixote, I must admit that the best part of being in this show was to be Don Quixote because I got to be on the stage with my daughter at the same time.”
Royal Ballet principal Steven McRae
Steven McRae, who has three children with his wife, former Royal Ballet soloist Elizabeth McRae (neé Harrod), often shares snippets of their family life with his 218 thousand Instagram followers. Audrey, Frederick and Rupert love to join in their father’s workouts, but the McRaes were cautious about their children following in their ballet footsteps. “We made a conscious decision to wait until one of the children asked us to start Dance lessons before enrolling them,” Steven wrote on his Instagram page in September 2021. “Well Audrey asked the question EVERYDAY during each lockdown and so it begins!”
Flash forward to March 2022, when he watched Audrey in ballet class for the first time. “My heart wanted to explode watching her!” he wrote. Like Helimets, he is full of endless encouragement and pride.
International Principal Guest Artist Brooklyn Mack
Brooklyn Mack’s son, Oberon, with Columbia Classical Ballet dancer Giovanna Montoya, was also born into a dancing family.
Mack travels often for his international guest artist contracts, but he is so proud of his son’s development, even expressing envy for Oberon’s deep plié in an Instagram story.
In addition to dancing, the duo cook and play football together, sharing in the same passions.
Former Philadelphia Ballet principal Jermel Johnson
In an interview last month, recently retired Philadelphia Ballet principal Jermel Johnson noted his long commute to Philly, adding that one reason he was hanging up his ballet slippers this year was to be closer to his two young children with husband David Jackson Jr.
But son Jaden has tried his own ballet slippers on for size, taking his first ballet camp in 2019 with the then School of Pennsylvania Ballet.
Since then, father and son have watched performances together, and Jaden is sure to become a ballet enthusiast. Younger sister Aliyah is bound to join in the fun soon enough.