glbtq: an encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender & queer culture
social sciences
special features
about glbtq


   member name
   Forgot Your Password?  
Not a Member Yet?  

  Advertising Opportunities
  Permissions & Licensing
  Terms of Service
  Privacy Policy






Alpha Index:  A-B  C-F  G-K  L-Q  R-S  T-Z

Subjects:  A-B  C-E  F-L  M-Z

Wheeldon, Christopher (b. 1973)  
page: 1  2  3  

Wheeldon was drawn to the Lewis Carroll book, which he read as a child, for its "big, bold, colorful, clearly-drawn" characters.

In addition to his classical ballets, Wheeldon has made forays into commercial theater and film.

He co-choreographed (with Susan Stroman) the dance sequences for the ballet film Center Stage (2000), directed by Nicholas Hytner. The film focuses on a group of young students in their first year of intensive training at the fictitious American Ballet Academy in New York. The film features the actor Shakiem Evans as Erick, an openly gay male dancer at the Academy.

Hytner and Wheeldon collaborated again for the Broadway musical The Sweet Smell of Success (2002), based on the 1957 film noir of the same name. Although the musical received decidedly mixed reviews, Wheeldon was nominated for a 2002 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Choreography.

Wheeldon made his operatic debut in 2006 with a new interpretation of the Dance of the Hours ballet in the Metropolitan Opera House's production of Amilcare Ponchielli's La Giaconda.

In the May/June 2009 issue of the Advocate, Wheeldon was featured as one of the artists who made the acclaimed "Forty Under 40" list. In the article, Wheeldon said that his adopted home of New York City had helped to bolster his confidence as a gay man: "I'm in a place where I can focus my energies on my craft and not have to fight to exist." And while the article noted that Wheeldon's work is not overtly political, he explained, "I create my dances to transport people. We're living in a time where beauty and poetry [are] really important. If anything, that's my political statement."

Wheeldon "inspires hope for the future of ballet," Karen Kain, Artistic Director of the National Ballet of Canada, has stated. "There are so few people who seem interested in taking this particular art form forward," Kain continued. "People seem more interested in deconstructing it or bashing it or making fun of it or saying it was from another time, as opposed to someone like [Wheeldon], who is interested in seeing what it is capable of in this day and age."

Wheeldon divides his time between an apartment in New York and a home in Spain.

Craig Kaczorowski

  <previous page   page: 1  2  3    

Contact Us
Join the Discussion
Related Entries
More Entries by this contributor
A Bibliography on this Topic

Citation Information
More Entries about The Arts

   Related Entries
arts >> Overview:  Ballet

The enduring and persistent connection between ballet and male homosexuality is undeniable and may be related to the art's remarkably masculine provenance.

arts >> Overview:  Dance

Artistic dance has proven to be a haven for glbtq people, who have made significant contributions in almost every area, including as choreographers, performers, and teachers.

literature >> Overview:  Musical Theater

There has always been homosexual involvement in American musical theatre and a homosexual sensibility even in straight musicals, and recently the Broadway musical has welcomed openly homosexual themes and situations.

arts >> Overview:  Opera

Opera, an eclectic synthesis of voice, drama, music, costume, visual arts and spectacle, has played an integral role in queer culture since its development in seventeenth century Venice.

arts >> Ashton, Sir Frederick

Sir Frederick Ashton may be described as the choreographer who most fully defined British ballet in the twentieth century.

arts >> Ballets Russes

The Ballets Russes represents not only a crucial turning point in dance history, but as one of the earliest gay-identified multinational enterprises, it is a milestone in gay history as well.

arts >> Béjart, Maurice

Maurice Béjart was a significant presence in late twentieth-century dance as a result of his reinvigoration of classical ballet and his creation of palpably homoerotic dances that celebrate male beauty.

arts >> Bourne, Matthew

Perhaps the most acclaimed British choreographer working today, Matthew Bourne is best known for his homoerotic updatings and deconstructions of classic ballets.

arts >> Bruhn, Erik

The premier male dancer of the 1950s, Erik Bruhn epitomized the ethereally handsome prince of the decade's ballet stage, but was later able to re-make his career by performing vividly realized character parts.

arts >> Cocteau, Jean

For prolific French poet and artist Jean Cocteau, filmmaking may have served as the best medium for the expression of his genius.

arts >> Diaghilev, Sergei

For Russian nobleman Sergei Diaghilev, who revolutionized music, the visual arts, theater, and dance, homosexuality may have been integral to his creativity.

arts >> Doone, Rupert

English dancer, choreographer, producer, and teacher of drama Rupert Doone had a varied and distinguished artistic career.

arts >> Goode, Joe

The most original contribution of the work of choreographer Joe Goode, which frequently confronts issues of being gay in the age of AIDS, is its challenge to traditional assumptions involving gender.

arts >> Helpmann, Sir Robert

Actor, dancer, and choreographer, Sir Robert Helpmann was present at the creation of premier ballet companies in both Great Britain and Australia.

arts >> Hytner, Sir Nicholas

British director Sir Nicholas Hytner is acclaimed for his work on musicals and plays in London as well as New York, and also for directing films and operas.

arts >> Joffrey, Robert

American dancer, choreographer, and teacher Robert Joffrey created a major dance company and promoted gender parity in ballet.

arts >> Lifar, Serge

Fiercely ambitious, Serge Lifar used his extraordinary looks and charismatic personality to rise to the ranks of leading international ballet dancers and choreographers of the twentieth century.

arts >> Morris, Mark

American choreographer Mark Morris creates works that typically mix elements of Eastern and Western cultures and frequently explore sexual ambiguities.

arts >> Nijinsky, Vaslav

One of the greatest dancers and most innovative choreographers in the history of ballet, Vaslav Nijinsky embodied the sensuality and sexual ambiguity associated with the distinctive new art of the twentieth century.

arts >> Nureyev, Rudolf

The greatest dancer of his time, Rudolf Nureyev also gave the world a new and glamorous image of a sexually active gay man.

arts >> Robbins, Jerome

Bisexual choreographer and director Jerome Robbins was both a great choreographer of classical ballet and a Broadway innovator, but he was fearful that he might be outed.

arts >> Soto, Jock

One of the most influential ballet dancers of his time, Jock Soto has been instrumental in shaping the role and identity of the contemporary male dancer.

arts >> Taylor, Paul

Dancer and choreographer Paul Taylor has been an important presence in American dance since the 1950s.

arts >> Van Dantzig, Rudi

As artistic director and resident choreographer of the Dutch National Ballet from 1971 to 1991, Rudi van Dantzig brought his company to international attention and created a body of choreographic work that explores such issues as the place of homosexuality in our time.

literature >> Wilde, Oscar

Oscar Wilde is important both as an accomplished writer and as a symbolic figure who exemplified a way of being homosexual at a pivotal moment in the emergence of gay consciousness.


Brown, Chip. "The Prodigious Son." The New York Times Magazine (May 2, 2004):

Brown, Ismene. "The Superman of Dance." The Telegraph (August 1, 2005: Arts, 13.

Carman, Joseph. "The Evolution of Christopher Wheeldon." Dance Magazine 77.5 (May 2003): 26.

"Forty Under 40: Arts; Christopher Wheeldon, Choreographer, 36, New York City." The Advocate (May/June 2009):,5

Kisselgoff, Anna. "At the Barre, a Dream-like Tone, Then Exuberance." The New York Times (June 3, 1996): C10.

_____. "A Whirlwind of Daring, of Dances and Ideas." The New York Times (May 23, 2003): E1.

Sulcas, Roslyn. "Christopher Wheeldon, Unbowed." The New York Times (October 25, 2009): Arts, 1.

Wachtel, Eleanor. "Christopher Wheeldon." Wachtel on the Arts, CBC Radio (October 18, 2011).

Wakin, Daniel J., and Alastair Macaulay. "Wheeldon Quits Dance Troupe He Created." The New York Times (February 23, 2010): C1.


    Citation Information
    Author: Kaczorowski, Craig  
    Entry Title: Wheeldon, Christopher  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2012  
    Date Last Updated October 19, 2012  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2012 glbtq, Inc.  


This Entry Copyright © 2012 glbtq, Inc. is produced by glbtq, Inc., 1130 West Adams Street, Chicago, IL   60607 glbtq™ and its logo are trademarks of glbtq, Inc.
This site and its contents Copyright © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.
Your use of this site indicates that you accept its Terms of Service.