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

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

By Elizabeth Davis (Former Editorial Assistant)

23 July 2014 at 3.55pm | 3 Comments

‘There’s something very magnetic about Wendy: when she comes out on stage she exudes that difference that a great artist has’. So says choreographer Christopher Wheeldon of the American ballet star who has provided inspiration for many of his works.

Christopher first met Wendy Whelan when the two were dancing with New York City Ballet in the 1990s and when he went on to choreograph Polyphonia, the work he describes as his ‘break-out ballet’, it was Wendy he turned to. ‘She inspired me enormously: she’s really interested in working with artists who are interested in her opinion and finding ways to combine forces to make something beautiful.’

Wheeldon went on to work with Whelan for the ballets After the Rain, The Nightingale and the Rose, Five Movements, Three Repeats and many more.

This autumn, after 30 years at New York City Ballet, Whelan will be retiring from the company and is making the leap from ballet to contemporary dance. For her new project, Restless Creature, which is in the Linbury Studio Theatre, she has invited four choreographers of modern dance – Kyle Abraham, Joshua Beamish, Brian Brooks and Alejandro Cerrudo – to create pieces for her to perform with each of them.

We spoke to Wheeldon about just what it is that makes working with Wendy – and watching her dance – so special.

Restless Creature runs in the Linbury Studio Theatre until 26 July 2014. Tickets are still available. The piece will also be performed at the Vail International Dance Festival on 6 August and further tour dates are still to be announced.

This article has 3 comments

  1. meunier responded on 23 July 2014 at 5:49pm Reply

    While I respect the intent, I shuddered each time the host of this broadcast mispronounced her subject's - Wendy WHELAN - last name. Truly frightening and most disturbing. My sincere wishes for better efforts in future.

    • Ellen West (Head of Creative Studios and Digital Products) responded on 24 July 2014 at 9:21am

      Dear Meunier

      Thank you for flagging this as it has drawn to my attention that the wrong version of this podcast has been uploaded. We caught this error ahead of publication and the piece was re-recorded, but human error has meant that the wrong version has been published. Very disappointing and embarrassing.

      Thanks again - the correct version will appear on the page soon.

      Best wishes


  2. Alastair Wood responded on 23 July 2014 at 8:20pm Reply

    An excellent and insightful interview with Christopher Wheeldon by Elizabeth Davis

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