Ballet by Christopher Wheeldon

 

Music
  Benjamin Britten
Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, op. 10
Choreography
  Christopher Wheeldon
Set
Costumes
  Jean-Marc Puissant

 

World Premiere
The Hamburg Ballet, Hamburg, July 1, 2001

 

Original Cast
  Heather Jurgensen
Carsten Jung
Silvia Azzoni
Alexandre Riabko

 

 Christopher Wheeldon

Christopher Wheeldon was born in Yeovil, Somerset, England. He began his ballet training when he was 8 years old at the East Coker Ballet School. At age 11, Mr. Wheeldon enrolled at The Royal Ballet School where he trained until he was 18. 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 New York City Ballet's corps de ballet. Mr. Wheeldon was promoted to the rank of Soloist in 1998. As a dancer with New York City Ballet, Mr. Wheeldon appeared in many works in the repertory, dancing featured roles in George Balanchine's "Divertimento No. 15, "The Four Temperaments", "A Midsummer Night's Dream", "The Nutcracker" and Jerome Robbins' "The Concert", "Dances at a Gathering" and "The Goldberg Variations".

Mr. Wheeldon retired from dancing at the end of the Spring 2000 season to concentrate on his choreographic work. Chosen to be New York City Ballet's first Artist in Residence, he created "Polyphonia", set to piano music by Györgi Ligeti, which was given its world premiere in January, 2001. His ballet "Variations sérieuses", was given its world premiere in May, 2001. That same month, Wheeldon was named Resident Choreographer for New York City Ballet. "Morphoses", also set to Ligeti music, premiered in June 2002 as part of the tenth Diamond Project festival, and "Carousel (A Dance)" set to music by Richard Rodgers, premiered in November 2002. In spring 2003, Mr. Wheeldon created two ballets: "Carnival of the Animals", set to the score by Camille Saint-Saëns with verse by John Lithgow, and "Liturgy", a pas de deux, set to music by Arvo Part.
As a choreographer, Mr. Wheeldon has also created works for Boston Ballet, The Colorado Ballet, The Royal Ballet, The Royal Ballet School, San Francisco Ballet and The Hamburg Ballet. Some of Mr. Wheeldon's other choreographic credits include: "Slavonic Dances" (1997), "Scènes de ballet" (1999), "Firebird" (1999) for Boston Ballet, "Mercurial Manoeuvres" (2000) for NYCB, "Sea Pictures" (2000) and "Continuum" (2002) for San Francisco Ballet, "VIII" (2001) for The Hamburg Ballet, "Tryst" (2002) for the Royal Ballet as well as the ballet sequence for the Columbia Pictures feature film "Center Stage". Christopher Wheeldon made his Broadway choreographic debut in March 2002 with the stage version of the film "Sweet Smell of Success".

In 1996 he received the Mae L. Wien Award from the School of American Ballet for choreography and in 1997 the Martin E. Segal Award from Lincoln Center for promising newcomer in choreography, the London Critics’ Circle Award for best new ballet for "Polyphonia" and the American Choreography Award for best choreography for the movie "Center Stage". A production of "Polyphonia" performed by NYCB dancers in the fall of 2002 received the Olivier Award for best new dance production.

In the meteoric career that has transformed him from a gifted dancer in the company (The New York City Ballet) into the most talented classical choreographer of his generation, Mr. Wheeldon has leaned toward spectacular compositional effects with large casts...
Anna Kisselgoff, The New York Times, January 2001

 

Review

A most accomplished and unusual piece.
John Percival, The Independent

Jurgensen - Jung
 

 
go backprint