Since 2012, the English choreographer Christopher Wheeldon has held the position of Artistic Associate of The Royal Ballet. Wheeldon trained at The Royal Ballet School and danced with The Royal Ballet from 1991 to 1993. In 1993, he was invited to join New York City Ballet, where he was promoted to soloist in 1998. In 2000, he ended his dancing career to devote himself entirely to choreography.
Wheeldon made his first creation, Slavonic Dances, in 1997 for New York City Ballet’s Diamond Project. He was resident choreographer with this company from 2001 to 2008. Since then, Wheeldon has created works for The Royal Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Dutch National Ballet and The Metropolitan Opera, among others. He was also the first Briton to choreograph a new work for the Bolshoi Ballet. In 2007, he founded Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company, with which he remained until 2010.
For Dutch National Ballet, Wheeldon successively staged Continuum (2005) and Tryst (2009). He went on to create Duet (2012) and Concerto Concordia (2015) for the company, and in 2012 he also created a new full-length version of the fairytale ballet Cinderella, a co-production by Dutch National Ballet and San Francisco Ballet. This production won him the Prix Benois de la Danse, also known as ‘the Oscar of dance’. Dutch National Ballet will give the European premiere of Wheeldon’s latest work, The Two of Us, as part of the Four Seasons programme in the Holland Festival 2021.
Wheeldon’s other successful full-length productions include Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (2011, The Royal Ballet and The National Ballet of Canada), The Winter’s Tale (2014, The Royal Ballet) and The Nutcracker (2016, Joffrey Ballet). For The Winter’s Tale, he again received the Prix Benois de la Danse for best choreographer. In 2012, Wheeldon also choreographed the closing ceremony of the London Olympics. In 2014, he made his musical debut with An American in Paris. This production won no fewer than four Tony Awards, including the award for best choreography.
Wheeldon was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2016 for ‘services to further the interests and reputation of British classical and theatre dance worldwide’. The new musical about Michael Jackson, MJ, which is both directed and choreographed by Wheeldon, was due to premiere on Broadway in the summer of 2020, but it has been postponed due to the corona crisis.
© Angela Sterling
- 2016: Appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire
- 2015: Four Tony Awards for the musical An American in Paris, including the award for best choreography
- 2015: Prix Benois de la Danse for The Winter's Tale (The Royal Ballet)
- 2013: Prix Benois de la Danse for Cinderella (co-production by Dutch National Ballet and San Francisco Ballet)
- 2012: Honorary Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
- 2006: Nomination for Laurence Olivier Award for Danse à Grande Vitesse
- 2005: Dance Magazine Award
- 2005: Critics’ Circle Award for ‘best new ballet’ for Polyphonia
- 2000: American Choreography Award for choreography in the film Center Stage