Choreographers

Photo Holger Badekow

Christopher Wheeldon

Christopher Wheeldon was born in Yeovil, Somerset, England. He began his ballet training when he was eight years old at the East Coker Ballet School. At age eleven Mr. Wheeldon enrolled at The Royal Ballet School where he trained until he was eighteen. He joined England's Royal Ballet in 1991 where he danced works by Ashton, MacMillan and Balanchine. That same year, he won the Gold Medal at the Prix de Lausanne competition. In 1993, Mr. Wheeldon was invited to become a member of the New York City Ballet's corps de ballet. He was promoted to the rank of Soloist in 1998.


Since joining the New York City Ballet Mr. Wheeldon has appeared in many of the works in repertory and danced featured roles in George Balanchine's Chaconne, Divertimento no. 15, Donizetti variations, The four temperaments, A Midsummer night's dream, The nutcracker ("Spanish" & "Candy Cane"), Scotch symphony, Peter Martin's The sleeping beauty (Europe), Jerome Robbin's The concert, Dances at a gathering, The Goldberg variations and 2 & 3 Part inventions. Mr. Wheeldon originated roles in Robbin's Brandenburg and West side story suite, Peter Martin's Reliquary, Swan lake and Symphonic Dances, Angelin Preljocaj's La stravaganza, and Richard Tanner's Episodes & sarcasms.


In addition to his dancing, Mr. Wheeldon has choreographed works for Boston Ballet, Carolina Ballet, The Colorado Ballet, Hamburg Ballet, New York City Ballet, The Royal Ballet, The Royal Ballet School, San Francisco Ballet and the School of American Ballet, the official school of the New York City Ballet. Mr. Wheeldon was one of six choreographers who presented new works as part of The Diamond Project throughout New York City Ballet's 1997 spring season. His ballet Slavonic Dances, set to music by Dvorak, had its world premiere in June, 1997. In 1999 he choreographed Scenes de ballet (Stravinsky) for New York City Ballet's Stravinsky Festival and School of American Ballet's Workshop Performances. Mr. Wheeldon's other choreographic credits include Firebird (Stravinsky) for Boston Ballet in 1999, Sea pictures (Elgar) for San Francisco Ballet in 2000, Mercurial manoeuvres (Shostakovich) for New York City Ballet's spring 2000 Diamond Project as well as the ballet sequence for the Columbia Pictures feature film Center stage directed by Nicholas Hytner.


Mr. Wheeldon retired from dancing in 2000 to concentrate on his choreographic work. Chosen to be New York City Ballet's first Artist in Residence, he was named Resident Choreographer in 2001 and went on to create Polyphonia (Ligeti) that premiered January 2001 and Variations sérieuses (Mendelssohn) in May 2001. For the Hamburg Ballet he created VIII as part of their Benjamin Britten evening in July 2001. Mr. Wheeldon made his Broadway choreographic debut in the musical The Sweet Smell of Success that premiered March 14, 2002. He completed a choreographic cycle to Ligeti music by creating Continuum for San Francisco Ballet and Morphoses for New York City Ballet. Mr. Wheeldon's new works include Tryst to the music of Scottish composer James MacMillan for the Royal Ballet, Carousel (Rodgers), Liturgy (Pärt) and Carnival of the Animals (Saint-Saëns) with original narration by John Lithgow. In 2004 Mr. Wheeldon will create and mount Swan Lake(Tchaikovsky) for Pennsylvania Ballet and premiere a new work with New York City Ballet to a commissioned score by Scottish composer James MacMillian.


He has been honoured by numerous awards for his choreography including: Mae L. Wien Award from the School of American Ballet for choreography (1996), Martin E. Segal Award from Lincoln Center for promising newcomer in choreography (1997), the Brendan Gill Prize by the Municipal Art Society of New York for Mercurial Manoeuvres (2001) and the London's Critic's Circle Award for best new choreography - Polyphonia (2001). He was honoured as a Library Lion by The New York Public Library (2002) and most recently the Lawrence Olivier Award for Polyphonia as well as by the Edinburgh International Festival 2003 with a showcase of his work featuring There Where She Loved (Chopin/Weill), Continuum and the premiere Rush (Martinu) presented by the San Francisco Ballet.


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