Forget fall galas, forget back-to-school, forget television season premieres: The highlight—no!—the most important event of this fall will be Wendy Whelan's farewell performance with New York City Ballet. The longtime principal will bid adieu October 18, program TBA.
Whelan with former NYCB principal Sébastien Marcovici in George Balanchine's Agon. Photo by Paul Kolnik
Before you reach for your tissues, listen up: This may be a farewell, but it's certainly not a goodbye. She's not hanging up her slippers just yet. In fact, Whelan will tour her work, Restless Creature, to 12 U.S. cities January 2015 through May 2015. Then, she's headed to London to work with Royal Ballet principal Edward Watson (swoon) to create a series of new works which will premiere Spring 2016. So on behalf of dancers and Wendy-Whelan-diehards everywhere, I invite you to breathe a sigh of relief.
Whelan with Craig Hall in Christopher Wheeldon's Fools' Paradise.
Photo by Erin Baiano
Naturally, this calls for a video celebration. First, let's watch Whelan with Craig Hall in a short excerpt from Christopher Wheeldon's After the Rain. (OK, grab those tissues now.)
Next, let's watch another Wheeldon creation. This time it's Whelan with Tyler Angle in rehearsal for This Bitter Earth at Vail International Dance Festival. (You'll need another tissue.)
Interested in seeing Whelan's Restless Creature on tour? Get a preview in this video of a Guggenheim Museum "Works & Process" event, where Whelan spoke about the piece with its four choreographers Kyle Abraham, Joshua Beamish, Brian Brooks, and Alejandro Cerrudo. If you're short on time, skip to minute markers 18:12 and then 56:30 for excerpts of the actual work.
Last year, Whelan wrote a Letter to My Teenage Self for Dance Spirit's January issue. Around the same time, a local Kentucky television channel aired a half-hour special, Wendy Whelan: Moments of Grace, which is available online. (Whelan grew up in Louisville before heading to SAB as a young teen.) In addition to amazing dance footage, you'll hear family members, friends and colleagues pay tribute to the one and only, gorgeous, generous Wendy Whelan.
Wendy Whelan photographed by Nisian Hughes
It's time for another round of How Awesome Is Wendy Whelan? Let Us Count the Ways!
The New York City Ballet principal has always been a thoughtful dancer, interested in exploring new ways to expand her artistry. Recently she's been working on projects that even take her outside the realm of ballet. Her latest adventure, Restless Creature, is an evening of dance featuring Whelan performing new works by contemporary choreographers Kyle Abraham, Josh Beamish, Brian Brooks and Alejandro Cerrudo. The show's official premiere will be at Jacob's Pillow this August. But you don't have to wait that long to get a taste of what's sure to be an amazing program.
This Sunday, Whelan and her team will give the world a sneak peek at Restless Creature as part of the Guggenheim's excellent Works & Process series. The presentation will include excerpts from the show and a discussion with Whelan and the four choreographers, moderated by Ella Baff of Jacob's Pillow.
Naturally, this thing is totally sold out. But never fear! There'll be a livestream of the event, which starts at 3 pm EST, here.