Wendy Whelan is widely considered one of the world’s leading dancers. She spent 30 years at New York City Ballet, performing virtually all the major Balanchine roles, working closely with Jerome Robbins on many of his ballets, and appearing internationally as a guest artist with The Royal Ballet and the Kirov Ballet among others.
Whelan has been nominated for an Olivier Award and a Critics Circle Award, and has received the Jerome Robbins Award, a Bessie for Sustained Achievement in Performance, the Dance Magazine Award, and a Doctorate of Arts, honoris causa, from Bellarmine University. She has performed on four continents and has worked with countless other dance legends including Christopher Wheeldon, William Forsythe, Twyla Tharp, Alexei Ratmansky, Jorma Elo, Shen Wei, and Wayne MacGregor.
Since retiring as a dancer from the New York City Ballet, Whelan has been teaching young female dancers and developing her own projects, including Hagoromo; Some Of a Thousand Words; and The Day. For the latter, Whelan has joined forces with cellist Maya Beiser and the seminal modern dance choreographer Lucinda Childs to create an evening-length work featuring music by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang. She is also working on a new collaboration with spoken word artist and activist Marc Bamuthi Joseph. A documentary, Restless Creature: Wendy Whelan, recently won the Chita Rivera Award for Best Dance Documentary, and speaks to her commitment to nullifying the stigma of aging and to focus instead on empowering women. The film is available on Netflix. In February 2019, Whelan was appointed as New York City Ballet’s Associate Artistic Director.