Benois de la Danse laureate

Benois de la Danse nominee

Christopher Wheeldon was born in 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. 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 the New York City Ballet's corp de ballet. He was promoted to the rank of Soloist in 1998. Since joining the New York City Ballet, Mr. Wheeldon has appeared in many of the works in repertory, dancing featured roles in G. Balanchine, P. Martins, J. Robbins, A. Preljocaj. In addition to his dancing, Mr. Wheeldon has choreographed works for Boston Ballet, Carolina Ballet, The Colorado Ballet, Hamburg Ballet, New York City Ballet, The Royal Ballet, The Royal Ballet School, San Francisco Ballet and the School of American Ballet: the official school of the New York City Ballet.

Mr. Wheeldon was one of six choreographers who presented new works as part of The Diamond Project throughout the New York City Ballet's 1997 spring season. His ballet Slavonic dancers, set to music by Dvorak, had its world premiere in June, 1997.

In 1999, he choreographed Scenes de ballet (Stravinsky) for New York City Ballet. Mr. Wheeldon's other choreographic credits include Firebird for Boston Ballet in 1999, Sea Pictures (Elgar) for San Francisco Ballet in 2000, Mercurial Manoeuvres (Shostakovich) for New York City Ballet.

Mr. Wheeldon retired from dancing in the year 2000 to concentrate on his choreographic work. Artist in Residence, he created Polyphonia (Ligeti) and Variations Serieuses (Mendelssohn). For the Hamburg Ballet he created VIII as part of their Benjamin Britten evening in July 2001. Mr. Wheeldon made his Broadway choreographic debut in the musical The Sweet Smell of Success that premiered March 14, 2002. Most recently this year, he completed a choreographic cycle to Ligeti music by creating Continuum for the San Francisco Ballet and Metamorphysis for the New York City Ballet. In addition, Mr. Wheeldon created Tryst to the music of Scottish composer J. MacMillan for the Royal Ballet that premiered in May 2002.

He has been honored by numerous awards for his choreography including: Award from the School on American Ballet for choreography (1996), Award from Lincoln Center for promising newcomer ii choreography (1997), the Brendan Gill Prize by the Municipal Art Society of New York for Mercurial Manoeuvres (2001), the London's Critic's Circle Award for best new choreography — Polyphonia (2001) and this year honored as a Library Lion by The New York Public Library.