News: Wheeldon quits Morphoses

Tuesday 23 February 2010

In an interview with the New York Times, Christopher Wheeldon has announced that he is leaving the company which he formed in 2007, citing a lack of permanent company dancers to work with. He said: “If I have to consider a new crop of dancers for each tour, then the conditions aren’t much different from what I have elsewhere as a freelance choreographer…As a freelancer you fly in, you choose your dancers, you make a ballet, you fly out, then you do it all over again with a different company. The beauty of having a permanent company is to have dancers who know just how you like them to move, the way you want them to cut shapes in space, the way you ask them to respond to music.”

Morphoses was launched as the first transatlantic ballet company, with bases at City Center in New York and at Sadler’s Wells in London, but funding has been problematic and the company has been run with a minimal staff team, led by the company’s executive director, Lourdes Lopez in New York. She intends to continue to run Morphoses without Wheeldon.

Meanwhile Christopher Wheeldon starts work in London this week on a full length commission for the Royal Ballet based on the story of _*Alice in Wonderland,* _to be premiered in February 2011. He also has commitments with San Francisco Ballet and New York City Ballet this year.

Read more in the New York Times, 22 Feb 2010

“I am saddened by this news as I believed what Chris was striving to do was brave, laudable and unique…However I completely understand his frustration at not being able to achieve the full extent of his vision.” Alistair Spalding, Artistic Director of Sadler’s Wells tells the Times, 24 Feb 10

Judith Mackrell discusses whether Wheeldon’s choice to set up his own company was naive or brave “He tried to create the best possible conditions in which to choreograph, and he was right to do so. Some of the finest ballets he’s made to date have been with dancers who are closest to him – Darcey Bussell at the Royal, Wendy Whelan and Jock Soto at NYCB. It would have been fascinating to see what he might have created if he’d been able to build a whole company around himself.” Guardian, 25 Feb 10

What’s On