This past weekend Wendy Whelan, one of the most iconic dancers in recent Ballet history took her final bow.
Wendy Whelan will forever be considered an icon in Ballet history. This is partly due to the fact that Ms. Whelan’s career spanned three decades; nearly unheard of in an art form that takes such an athletic toll on the body. Her status is also due to Wendy’s iconic presence as a Principal dancer with the New York City Ballet – one of the world’s most prestigious companies.
As The New York Times art critic Alastair Macaulay wrote in his recent review of Ms. Whelan’s final performance:
“I’ve noted before that the finest ballets since 2000 have been created for City Ballet. It’s no accident that Ms. Whelan originated roles in most of them: notably Mr. Wheeldon’s “Polyphonia” and Mr. Ratmansky’s “Russian Seasons” and “Concerto DSCH.” Has any dancer in history been involved in more world premieres? It’s easy to imagine the stimulus of collaborating with her. (From the only time I’ve met her, I recall that big smile and how quickly she made me laugh.) And though she has certainly brought refined technique to the process, you can’t help thinking that what must most inspire choreographers has been her spirit, her mind and her sheer will.”
Alastair Macaulay’s review in The New York Times, 10/20/14
For me, however, Wendy Whelan’s iconic status lies more than in her monumental career as a Principal dancer. For me, Ms. Whelan is an ideal role model for aspiring dancers everywhere. Though she may be leaving the stage, her legacy of humble kindness will remain. And in today’s culture, it is critically important for aspiring dancers to have a role model with character traits they [...]