Wendy Whelan is thrilling audiences at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival this week with a complete departure from the roles in which she normally appears as a principal dancer of New York City Ballet. Aptly titled Restless Creature, this suite of contemporary duets enables one of today’s most celebrated ballerinas to pursue a new outlet for her individuality, combining her extraordinary talent with the creative artistry of four of America’s leading choreographers.
Co-commissioned by Jacob’s Pillow, Restless Creature features works by Brian Brooks, Kyle Abraham, Alejandro Cerrudo and Joshua Beamish, each of whom partners Ms Whelan in the individual duets created for her, and set to music by Max Richter, Philip Glass, German pianist Hauschka and Icelandic cellist Hildur Guðnadóttir.
Wendy Whelan has been a member of New York City Ballet since 1986. She has danced in a wide range of ballets created for the Company by George Balanchine, worked closely with Jerome Robbins on a number of of his ballets, and has originated featured roles in ballets by Christopher Wheeldon, William Forsythe, Alexei Ratmansky, Wayne McGregor, Jorma Elo, Shen Wei and Twyla Tharp.
Having received a number of prestigious awards, Ms Whelan has toured extensively throughout the United States, Europe and Asia, and danced as a guest artist with The Royal Ballet at Covent Garden and with the Mariinsky Ballet in St Petersburg. Television appearances include two Live from Lincoln Center broadcasts on PBS – New York City Ballet’s Diamond Project: Ten Years of New Choreography in 2002, and Lincoln Center Celebrates Balanchine 100 in 2004.
Kyle Abraham is the New York Live Arts Resident Commissioned Artist for 2012-14. A 2012 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award recipient and USA Ford Fellow, he was named the “best and brightest creative talent to emerge in New York City in the age of Obama” by OUT Magazine. In 2010 he received a Bessie Award for Outstanding Performance in Dance, and a Princess Grace Award for Choreography.
Recently awarded a 2013 Guggenheim Fellowship, Brian Brooks is also a recipient of the New York City Center Fellowship (2012–2013) and the Jerome Robbins New Essential Works Grant (2013). His dance group, the Brian Brooks Moving Company, will be presented by BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) as part of their 2013 Next Wave Festival, and Brooks has also been commissioned to create new works for The Juilliard School, the Vail International Dance Festival and Alfred University.
Joshua Beamish is Artistic Director of MOVE: the company, a Canadian-American non-profit through which his works have been seen across North America, in Asia and Europe. An alumnus of the New York Choreographic Institute – a New York City Ballet affiliate – Beamish is also the recipient of a Jerome Robbins Foundation grant, and the 2012—2013 National Incubator Artist-in-Residence at the American Dance Institute.
Alejandro Cerrudo has danced professionally since 1998, with companies such as Victor Ullate Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theater 2 and Hubbard Dance Chicago. Named Hubbard Street Choreographic Fellow in 2008, he became the company’s first Resident Choreographer the following year, and amongst the works he has created for Hubbard Street are collaborations with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Nederlands Dans Theater.
Jacob’s Pillow – a National Historic Landmark – is home to America’s longest-running international dance festival. Hailed by Mikhail Baryshnikov as “one of America’s most precious cultural assets”, “the dance center of the nation” by The New York Times and described as a “hub and mecca of dancing” by TIME Magazine, the Festival is a recipient of the National Medal of Arts, and attracts thousands of people each year, from the United States and around the world. It features the work of 50 dance companies, and presents 200 free performances, talks and events. The School at Jacob’s Pillow is one of the most prestigious professional dance training centers in the US.
Restless Creature will be presented at the Ted Shawn Theatre, Jacob’s Pillow, from August 14th to 18th. For further information and tickets, please visit jacobspillow.org.
Video clips of Restless Creature can be viewed via the following links: