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DIRECTED BY: Linda Saffire, Adam Schlesinger



Please join us for a post-film Q&A with Wendy Whelan

Co-presented by the Ballet School of Stamford

Sponsored by former Boston Ballet dancer, Melinda DeChiazza Cloobeck, Morgan Stanley, Financial Advisor


RESTLESS CREATURE: WENDY WHELAN offers an intimate portrait of prima ballerina Wendy Whelan as she prepares to leave New York City Ballet after a record-setting three decades with the company. One of the modern era’s most acclaimed dancers, Whelan was a principal ballerina for NYCB and, over the course of her celebrated career, danced numerous ballets by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, as well as new works by more modern standout choreographers like Christopher Wheeldon and Alexei Ratmansky; many roles were made specifically for Whelan. As the film opens, Whelan is 46, battling a painful injury that has kept her from the ballet stage, and facing the prospect of her impending retirement from the company. What we see, as we journey with her, is a woman of tremendous strength, resilience and good humor. We watch Whelan brave the surgery that she hopes will enable her comeback to NYCB and we watch her begin to explore the world of contemporary dance, as she steps outside the traditionally patriarchal world of ballet to create Restless Creature, a collection of four contemporary vignettes forged in collaboration with four young choreographers.

Throughout this riveting documentary, we watch Whelan grapple with questions of her own identity and worth. Historical footage shows her dancing as a very young girl in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, then as a teenager on her own in New York and, finally, as a rising ballerina with the company. “’If I don’t dance, I’d rather die’—I’ve actually said that,” says Whelan at one point in the film, as she talks about leaving the only environment she knows, and facing what comes next. Whelan’s unflinching honesty, her tireless determination, and her winsome attitude—along with her breathtaking dancing—make RESTLESS CREATURE: WENDY WHELAN not just a fascinating portrait of an artist grappling with change but also a delight to watch.


Wendy Whelan was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. She began taking ballet lessons at the age of three. At age 9, she began intensive training at the Louisville Ballet Academy. In 1981, she auditioned for the School of American Ballet and was accepted to the summer program. A year later, she moved to New York to continue her studies there as a full-time student. In 1984, she was named an apprentice with New York City Ballet and in 1986, she joined the corps de ballet. Wendy went on to spend 30 years at New York City Ballet, 23 of those years as principal dancer. She has danced virtually every major Balanchine role, and worked closely with Jerome Robbins on many of his ballets. She originated leading roles in works by such notable choreographers as William Forsythe, Twyla Tharp, Alexei Ratmansky, and Christopher Wheeldon. In 2007, Wendy was nominated for both an Olivier Award and a Critics Circle Award for her performances in London, of Christopher Wheeldon’s work. Wendy has been a guest artist with The Royal Ballet and the Kirov Ballet and has performed on nearly every major stage across the globe. She received the Dance Magazine Award in 2007, and in 2009 was given a Doctorate of Arts, honoris causa, from Bellarmine University. In 2011, she received both The Jerome Robbins Award and a Bessie Award for her Sustained Achievement in Performance. On October 18, 2014, Wendy took the stage for her final performance with New York City Ballet. Immediately following her retirement as a dancer from City Ballet, she joined the faculty of New York City's Ballet Academy East and was appointed Artistic Associate at New York City Center. In 2013, Wendy premiered her inaugural independent project, Restless Creature, co-produced by The Joyce Theater, at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. The project went on to tour London and the U.S through May 2015. Following Restless Creature, she premiered two more independent projects, Whelan/Watson Other Stories, at London's Royal Opera House and Hagoromo at BAM's Next Wave Festival. After the success and momentum of these projects, she is currently developing Some of a Thousand Words, with choreographer Brian Brooks and the string quartet Brooklyn Rider. Wendy is excited to premiere this with The Joyce Theater at Arts & Ideas Festival and looks forward to touring the work in Spring 2017.




RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes






Carte Blanche: FREE
Nonmembers - $12
Members - $7
Students/Seniors (Mon - Thu) - $9




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