Choreographer Christopher Wheeldon Forms His Own Company

Classic Arts News   Choreographer Christopher Wheeldon Forms His Own Company
 
Christopher Wheeldon, New York City Ballet's choreographer in residence, has formed his own company, reports The New York Times.

Morphoses the Wheeldon Company, named after a 2002 dance Wheeldon created for City Ballet, will make its debut in August at the Vail International Dance Festival in Colorado, followed by around five performances at the Sadler's Wells Theater in London in September and approximately the same number at City Center in New York in October, according to the Times.

The performances will feature his own choreography as well as works by others, performed by City Ballet dancers in New York and Royal Ballet dancers in London.

Wheeldon recently announced that he will leave City Ballet when his contract ends in 2008.

"We're still kind of at the hopes-and-dreams stage," Wheeldon told the Times. As of yet, his company has no permanent members; dancers for the performances in Vail will be cast from major companies, including the Hamburg Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet and San Francisco Ballet.

Regarding management of the company, Wheeldon will focus on the artistic side, particularly on new works by contemporary choreographers, and Lourdes Lopez, a former City Ballet principal, is handling the administrative side. The company is eventually expected to have about 20 members and an annual budget of about $5 million, according to the Times. Wheeldon hasn't discussed how the company will be financed.

Wheeldon's company will be New York City's third, after City Ballet and the American Ballet Theater. Wheeldon hopes, however, to create a more collaborative style than is usual in the older companies.

Wheeldon, 33, was named City Ballet's first artist-in-residence for the 2000-01 season and began his tenure as the company's first resident choreographer in the 2001-02 season. He has created around a dozen dances for City Ballet, including Polyphonia in 2001; Morphoses and Carousel (A Dance) in 2002; Carnival of the Animals and Liturgy in 2003; Shambards in 2004 and After the Rain last year.

Wheeldon began training at the Royal Ballet at age 11 and later danced in the company. He danced with New York City Ballet from 1993 until 2000, when he turned to choreography full-time. He plans to complete two new works for the company before he leaves.


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