The World of Whelan
“From the moment you see her walk on, you can see the intensity and the dedication. Because every single step she takes means something.”
Jock Soto, quoted here, is talking about Wendy Whelan, that singular artist, in the new documentary Wendy Whelan: Moments of Grace, which premiered on Kentucky Educational Television last Friday and can be viewed here. The film follows Whelan, a ballerina who can be, at turns, dazzling, soulful, and chimerical, to her childhood home in Louisville and through a day in her life as a principal with New York City Ballet. The home video footage and interviews with her family paint a picture of a girl who was always in love with ballet’s dual nature: the beautiful magic created onstage and the serious work behind the curtain. And work she does—there’s footage of her in Willy Burmann’s class at Steps on Broadway, a rehearsal with Craig Hall from Wheeldon’s DGV: Danse à Grand Vitesse, and performance clips of Robbins’ In Memory Of, and Wheeldon’s Les Carillons, Polyphonia, and After the Rain—her breaktaking signature role.
NYCB‘s wildly exciting winter season opened last night—we’re looking forward to seeing her onstage soon.