Saturday, 6 February 2016

Gays In The News: Christopher Wheeldon

Watching Christopher Wheeldon in rehearsal is most entertaining. I’ve seen countless choreographers create a ballet in the studio but none so determined to dance it himself. Time and again the lithe Englishman demonstrates what he wants, and so expansive and articulate are his moves that it’s almost as if he has been transported back to the stage.

Wheeldon doesn’t perform any more. He’s way too busy and successful as a choreographer and besides, at 42, he would be facing retirement if he were still donning the white tights. Yet it’s obvious that a love of the academic language is still firmly rooted in his body, which is why he’s so good at making ballets that feel contemporary and classical at the same time.

He was a reasonably good dancer in his day, first at the Royal Ballet where he began his career in 1991 and then at New York City Ballet, which he joined in 1993. But he grew up to become a sensationally good choreographer and one of the very few artists in the world who can be trusted to make ballet relevant and entertaining in the 21st century.

Not only is he king of Covent Garden, having given the Royal a string of critical and box-office hits over the years, he is also, thanks to the musical An American in Paris (which he directed and choreographed), the toast of Broadway. And when An American in Paris comes to London next year, if all goes according to plan, he could add the West End to his hit parade too... 

The Times.

Nope, I'd never heard of him before either.

Still, good to see a gay bloke doing well in the notoriously heterosexual and homophobic world of ballet.


  1. Why do they always describe ballet as relevant ? Relevant to what ? How does mincing in tights relate to peoples lives anyway ? I don't think it has to be relevant.

  2. According to this book I'm reading the Tudors were very interested in their posture as part of their manners, and would assume ballet stances in their daily life, which would go in and out of favour depending on the impression they wanted to achieve. Plus the obvious wearing of tights for most men, and long hair.

    Also pale pink was associated with young men. :)