Internationally acclaimed choreographer Christopher Wheeldon is Artistic Director and Co-Founder of Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company. A former dancer with The Royal Ballet and soloist with New York City Ballet (where he served as Resident Choreographer from 2001 to 2008), Wheeldon founded Morphoses in 2007 with the goal of introducing a new spirit of innovation to classical ballet by fostering collaboration among choreographers, dancers, visual artists, designers, composers, and others who can bring new life and perspective to ballet.
Born in Yeovil, Somerset, England, Wheeldon began his ballet training at eight years old and began studying at The Royal Ballet School at eleven. Wheeldon joined The Royal Ballet in 1991 and won the Gold Medal at the Prix de Lausanne competition that year. In 1993, Wheeldon was invited to become a member of New York City Ballet, where he was promoted to soloist in 1998. Wheeldon choreographed his first work for NYCB, Slavonic Dances, for the 1997 Diamond Project and, in collaboration with artist Ian Falconer, created Scènes de Ballet for the School of American Ballet's 1999 Workshop Performances and NYCB's 50th anniversary season.
After creating Mercurial Manoeuvers for NYCB's Spring 2000 Diamond Project, Wheeldon retired from dancing to concentrate on choreography. In NYCB's 2000-2001 season, he served as the company's first Artist in Residence, creating two ballets: Polyphonia, set to piano music by Györgi Ligeti, and Variations Sérieuses, set to a score by Felix Mendelssohn. In July 2001, Wheeldon was named NYCB's first Resident Choreographer. During his appointment, Wheeldon choreographed works that included Morphoses and Carousel (A Dance) (2002); Carnival of the Animals and Liturgy (2003); After the Rain and An American in Paris (2005); Klavier (2006), and The Nightingale and the Rose (2007).
Among the celebrated ballets Wheeldon has created for other companies are: Continuum, for San Francisco Ballet (2002), Tryst and DGV (Danse à Grande Vitesse), for The Royal Ballet (2002 and 2006, respectively), a full-length Swan Lake, for Pennsylvania Ballet (2004), Dance of the Hours, for The Metropolitan Opera's production of Ponchielli's La Gioconda (2006), and Misericors, for the Bolshoi Ballet (2007), as well as ballet sequences for the feature film Center Stage (2000) and a stage version of Broadway's Sweet Smell of Success (2002).
In his pursuit of innovation for the art form, Wheeldon has collaborated with composers James MacMillan, Bright Sheng, and Michael Nyman; artists Ian Falconer, James Buckhouse, and Jean Marc Puissant; designers Adrianne Lobel and Narciso Rodriguez; author and actor John Lithgow; and director Nicholas Hytner.
Wheeldon was the recipient of the Dance Magazine Award and the London Critics' Circle Award for Best New Ballet for Polyphonia in 2005; a performance of the work by NYCB dancers received the Olivier Award. In 2006, DGV (Danse à Grande Vitesse) was nominated for an Olivier Award. Additional honors include the Martin E. Segal Award from Lincoln Center and the American Choreography Award.
For Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company's inaugural season, Wheeldon choreographed two new works: Fools' Paradise and Prokofiev Pas de Deux. Launched at the Vail International Dance Festival in August 2007, Morphoses performed as Guest Resident Company at both Sadler's Wells in London in September, and New York City Center in October. The company will perform at these three venues again this year. Morphoses won the prestigious South Bank Show Award for its 2007 London season.