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Wendy Whelan

Dancer

Biography

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

Iconic American dancer Wendy Whelan is a principal of New York City Ballet. She danced as a guest artist with The Royal Ballet in 1994, 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.

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 NYCB corps de ballet in 1986 and was promoted to principal in 1991. 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 Thar and Shen Wei. Whelan has danced as a guest artist with companies around the world, including the Mariinsky Ballet.

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.

Videos

News and features

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?

Listen: Christopher Wheeldon on his inspired creative partnership with Wendy Whelan

Listen: Christopher Wheeldon on his inspired creative partnership with Wendy Whelan

23 July 2014

The Royal Ballet Artistic Associate has made more ballets on the American dancer than on any other ballerina.

Watch: Our favourite Wendy Whelan clips

Watch: Our favourite Wendy Whelan clips

17 July 2014

In preparation for the European premiere of Restless Creature, we explore the NYC Ballet dancer’s top YouTube moments.

Ten minutes with New York City Ballet Principal Wendy Whelan

Ten minutes with New York City Ballet Principal Wendy Whelan

10 July 2014

Wendy Whelan on dancing without pointe shoes and connecting with the audience.

Watch: Christopher Wheeldon's One-act Ballets

Watch: Christopher Wheeldon's One-act Ballets

25 April 2014

The choreographer may be lauded for his narrative ballets, but his abstract one-acts are equally worth seeing.

Photos