Whelan in George Balanchine’s Mozartiana (Paul Kolnik)
Wendy Whelan shapes performances the way architects shape buildings: intelligently, coolly, with an eye to internal structure as well as outer beauty. Now New York City Ballet’s senior principal, Whelan has fascinated choreographers and audiences alike during her nearly 30 years with the company.
Born in Louisville, KY, Whelan began studying dance with a local teacher at age 3 before focusing more intensely on ballet at the Louisville Ballet Academy. A summer at the School of American Ballet in 1981 led to an invitation to enter the school full-time. She joined NYCB as an apprentice in 1984 and moved swiftly through the ranks, reaching principal status in 1991.
Recently Whelan, long one of ballet choreographer Christopher Wheeldon’s muses, has also begun collaborating with contemporary artists, including Stephen Petronio. Catch her in classical mode with NYCB this month—then see her perform four new contemporary pas de deux in her own concert this summer. —Margaret Fuhrer
Whelan at age 12
Believe it or not, I have lots of compliments for you. I’m so proud of the way you have applied yourself personally and professionally to all your studies as a young dancer.
You’ve realized you must give up a lot of things other kids are doing in order to focus your mind and body on your goal. I know it’s uncomfortable to feel in school like you’re different from the others because you’re so serious about your goals at such a young age, but this discomfort is going to pay off. Stay disciplined, keep that trust you have in yourself and remain open. And be kind to your friends, because that will pay off, too. Developing this balance early will prepare you for a long and happy career.
One thing I worry about is that you tend to “beat yourself up” more than necessary. I see this as a weakness in you, something you need to rethink. That’s a lot of wasted energy you could be putting toward other parts of your artistry. All this struggling doesn’t accomplish what you think it does. Once you get a handle on it, you will gain the power to face challenges with a positive attitude. Make these challenges about fun and
learning. Keep your sense of humor. Stop looking at yourself from
the outside (as a critical viewer), and look instead from the inside out (as a scientist experimenting, searching for answers). That will keep your passion alive for longer than you could ever imagine.
Dance on with joy. You are a lucky girl.
There's a reason Mia Michaels' nickname is "Mama Mia." The legendary choreographer invests deeply in her dancers, whether they're competitors on "So You Think You Can Dance," members of the Radio City Rockettes, or part of her own elite assistant squad. And now, Michaels is launching a project that aims to give more dancers access to her gifts as a teacher and mentor.
And that's a wrap on "Dancing with the Stars" Season 24, ladies and gents! It's certainly been one for the books. From injuries to shocking eliminations, let's just say Season 24 has had its emotional ups and downs. But despite all that, the season made for some seriously phenom dancing and some killer performances. And as usual, we've loved watching every second of those cha chas, foxtrots, and waltzes.
Let's get right to the exciting stuff, though: Last night's winning couple of "Dancing with the Stars" is...
Nearly 80,000 dance-loving Instagram followers can't be wrong: Quinn Starner is one to watch. And what's just as impressive as the 15-year-old's rabid online following is her ever-growing list of competition accolades. Quinn, who trains at Indiana Ballet Conservatory and Stars Dance Company, been named first runner-up at The Dance Awards for two years in a row (as a junior and a teen); was the 2016 West Coast Dance Explosion Teen National Champion; earned first place in contemporary and third place in the classical division at Youth America Grand Prix Regionals in Pittsburgh last year; has won the Grand Prix Award at ADC|IBC; and was a gold medalist at World Ballet Art Competition Grand Prix. Plus, she made it to the Academy round on last year's "So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation," and has performed as Clara in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Here's what Quinn has to say about her favorite songs, teachers, and career highlights.
Want a chance to get personally involved in the HOTLY anticipated TV show "World of Dance"? Of course you do. That's why J. Lo. and the rest of the "WOD" team have launched an interactive version of the upcoming NBC series that lets Snapchatters get in on the action.
On Saturday morning, Russell Horning—aka 15-year-old Instagram king @i_got_barzz—was already kind of famous. His admittedly bad but weirdly mesmerizing dance videos had earned him shoutouts from the likes of Rihanna (and dance tributes from the likes of Josh Killacky).
But by Sunday morning? By Sunday morning, Russell Got Barzz had reached an entirely different level of memedom. Because Katy Perry tapped the teen—signature backpack and all—to perform "Swish Swish" with her on "Saturday Night Live." And the internet lost its darn mind.
If, like me, you've ever wondered (and wondered) how that stunning opening scene in La La Land came together, do we have a treat for you.