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Photo: Angela Sterling.
Christopher Wheeldon, OBE trained at The Royal Ballet School, won the Prix de Lausanne Gold Medal, and joined The Royal Ballet in 1991. In 1993, he joined New York City Ballet and was promoted to soloist in 1998. He was named NYCB’s first Resident Choreographer in July 2001. Since then, Wheeldon has created and staged productions for many of the world’s major ballet companies, including San Francisco Ballet, The Bolshoi Ballet, The Mariinsky Ballet, The Paris Opera Ballet, and Hamburg Ballet, among others.
In 2007, Wheeldon founded Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company and was appointed an Associate Artist for Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London. He was appointed as Artistic Associate of The Royal Ballet in 2012 for which he has created many works such as Tryst, DGV: Danse à grande vitesse, Electric Counterpoint, Trespass, and Strapless, as well as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The Winter’s Tale, two co-productions with The National Ballet of Canada. Like Water for Chocolate was his latest full-length ballet for The Royal Ballet, which premiered June 2022.
In 2012, his ballet Cinderella premiered at Het Nationale Ballet and has since been performed across the world. For the Metropolitan Opera, Wheeldon choreographed Dance of the Hours for Ponchielli’s La Gioconda (2006) and Richard Eyre’s production of Carmen (2012), as well as ballet sequences for the feature film Center Stage (2000) and the musical Sweet Smell of Success on Broadway (2002).
Wheeldon created a special excerpt for the Closing Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics, and, in April 2016, served as Artistic Director for the Fashion Forward exhibition in Paris at La Musée Arts et Decoratif. In 2014, Wheeldon directed and choreographed the Broadway production of An American in Paris, which played in New York, Paris, and London, and toured throughout America, China, Japan, and Australia, and earned him a Tony Award® for Best Choreography, as well as an Outer Critics Award for Best Choreography and Direction. His rendition of The Nutcracker saw its world premiere with The Joffrey Ballet in 2016 and, in 2017, Wheeldon directed and choreographed Lerner & Loewe’s Brigadoon starring Kelli O’Hara and Patrick Wilson at New York City Center. 2019 saw the premiere of Corybantic Games at The Royal Ballet and a re-staged version of Cinderella for the English National Ballet at Royal Albert Hall. Most recently, MJ The Musical opened on Broadway, winning Wheeldon a Tony Award® for Best Choreography. Wheeldon’s other works include Continuum, Rush, and Within the Golden Hour in San Francisco, Misericordes with Bolshoi Theatre, The Sleeping Beauty with The Royal Danish Ballet, and Swan Lake with The Philadelphia Ballet.
Among Wheeldon’s awards are the Martin E. Segal Award from Lincoln Center, the American Choreography Award, the Dance Magazine Award, South Bank Show Award, multiple London Critics’ Circle Awards, and the Léonide Massine Prize for new choreography. Wheeldon’s productions of Cinderella and The Winter’s Tale received the Prix Benois de la Danse, while his ballets Aeternum for The Royal Ballet and Polyphonia for Morphoses each won an Olivier Award. He is an Honorary International Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was appointed an OBE in 2016.