Though she is winding down her career performing with New York City Ballet, Wendy Whelan isn't retiring from the ballet world. This fall, she will join the faculty at Ballet Academy East, and will continue to share her vast experience with the students in the school's Pre-Professional Division. BAE—under the directorship of Julia Dubno and Darla Hoover—is already home to notable faculty, including former American Ballet Theatre principal Maxim Beloserkovsky.
There have been rumblings about Wendy Whelan's New York City Ballet retirement for a while now. As of this morning, it's official: The revered principal dancer will take her final bow with the company on October 18.
There's no word yet on what she'll dance for that last show, the culmination of three decades of extraordinary work with NYCB. Yet, however emotional that moment is guaranteed to be, this is just the end of one chapter in Whelan's remarkable career.
Few ballerinas are as adventurous as New York City Ballet’s Wendy Whelan. “I like to be the paint and the brush,” she says, “but just not the person holding the brush.” At the Guggenheim’s Works & Process this weekend, Whelan discussed and performed excerpts of "Restless Creature," a suite of duets created collaboratively with contemporary dancer-choreographers Kyle Abraham, Joshua Beamish, Brian Brooks and Alejandro Cerrudo.
Mark your calendars: There's some great ballet coming into your life over the next couple of weeks—all of which you can catch from the comfort of your couch. Keep an eye out for these programs:
Wendy Whelan: "Restless Creature" The New York City Ballet superstar will preview her new project at the Guggenheim Museum. She'll perform excerpts from new duets created collaboratively with choreographers Joshuah Beamish and Brian Brooks, and show a solo by Shen Wei.
Before becoming a beloved prima ballerina with New York City Ballet, Wendy Whelan was just another girl growing up in Louisville, Kentucky. Tonight, local TV station KET will air "Wendy Whelan: Moments of Grace" on its Kentucky Muse program at 10 pm EST (and the station will rerun it next Wednesday at 8 pm). Those of us who live in other states can watch it stream online at ket.org/live. The documentary explores Whelan's childhood growing up in Kentucky, and gives an inside look at the impact of her roots on her incredible career.
Ballet superstars don't get much bigger than Wendy Whelan and Desmond Richardson. This winter, the two inimitable dancers teamed up for a one-night-only performance in New Orleans to commemorate Richardson's last season as a performer with Complexions. If you haven't seen Jim Lafferty's gorgeous shots of their rehearsals in our April/May issue, you're missing out. This is one outtake we didn't have room for in the magazine, and I had to share it.
Tomorrow night, Wendy Whelan will make her debut as a guest artist with the Stephen Petronio Company at New York’s Joyce Theater, dancing the choreographer’s Ethersketch 1. Pointe talked to Petronio about working with the celebrated New York City Ballet principal on the solo.
For Pointe's December/January issue, photographer Matthew Murphy went behind the scenes of Daniel Ulbricht's "Dance Against Cancer" benefit. The event, featuring performances by dancers from all over, raised $30,000 for the American Cancer Society. Murphy captured splendid shots of the dancers rehearsing, organizing, performing, texting, giggling, getting dressed, and more.
Senior editor Jenny Stahl recently called New York City Ballet principal Daniel Ulbricht "Superman," and I can't think of a better way to describe the phenomenally talented dancer and teacher, who seems to be everywhere at once these days. (We recently posted a poll asking who your favorite dancer-teacher was, and Ulbricht cleaned up.)
Wendy Whelan, NYCB principal, on teaching a recent master class at Manhattan Movement & Arts:
I don’t teach often, so I’m learning about myself as a teacher. You have to articulate both with your body and with your words. A certain word might make all the difference to someone in the class. As I teach, I think a lot about Willy Burmann—I’ve been taking his class for more than 20 years. I love the ideas he brings to his students. He does a lot with opposition—being down in the ground and up into the air.