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Wendy Whelan



Wendy Whelan in action.
Wendy Whelan's Restless Creature © Christopher Duggan / 2013

Iconic American dancer Wendy Whelan made her Royal Ballet debut in 1994 as a Guest Artist, performing the pas de deux from William Forsythe's Herman Schmerman. In July 2014 she performed her show Restless Creature in the Linbury Studio Theatre, dancing four pas de deux with their choreographers, Kyle Abraham, Joshua Beamish, Brian Brooks and Alejandro Cerrudo. In the 2014/15 Season she dances in a newly created mixed programme with Edward Watson in the Linbury Studio Theatre.

Born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, Whelan began her dance studies at the age of three. Aged 15 she moved to New York to continue her studies at the School of American Ballet. She was invited to become a member of the New York City Ballet corps de ballet in 1986. She was promoted to principal in 1991 and retired in 2014. Whelan has performed a wide spectrum of the George Balanchine repertory and worked closely with Jerome Robbins on many of his ballets. She has created roles in 13 ballets for Christopher Wheeldon, as well as in ballets by Jorma Elo, William Forsythe, Wayne McGregor, Alexei Ratmansky, Twyla Tharp and Shen Wei. Whelan has danced as a guest artist with companies around the world, including the Mariinsky Ballet. Since 2012 she has focussed on developing collaborative projects, including Restless Creature. She is currently Artistic Associate for City Center, New York.

In 2007 Whelan was nominated for an Olivier Award and a Critics' Circle Award for her performances with Morphoses/Wheeldon Company. She received the 2007 Dance Magazine Award, and in 2009 was awarded a Doctorate of Arts, honoris causa, from Bellarmine University. In 2011 she was honored with both The Jerome Robbins Award and a Bessie Award for Sustained Achievement in Performance.


News and features

Dance Essentials: <em>Whelan/Watson: Other Stories</em>

Dance Essentials: Whelan/Watson: Other Stories

7 July 2015

Our quick introduction to a new mixed programme of modern dance starring world-class dancers Wendy Whelan and Edward Watson.

Brave New World: Wendy Whelan and Edward Watson on teaming up for a leap into the unknown

Brave New World: Wendy Whelan and Edward Watson on teaming up for a leap into the unknown

10 February 2015

The former New York City Ballet dancer and current Royal Ballet Principal on stepping into unknown territory and finding common ground.

Your reaction: Wendy Whelan: Restless Creature

Your reaction: Wendy Whelan: Restless Creature

24 July 2014

What did you think of the New York City Ballet Principal's programme of contemporary dance?