leonid17

Christopher Wheeldon & 'Morphoses'

120 posts in this topic

Hidden in the article read via links re@Vail Valley Festival is the following:

"The second week of the dance festival will put the Vail Valley squarely in the global spotlight as one of the foremost choreographers in the world today Christopher Wheeldon brings his new vision to Vail in two performances featuring his new company, MORPHOSES, headlined by stars of the international dance world.

"Superlatives have been exhausted in describing the abilities of Christopher Wheeldon," said Woetzel. "And the honor of being able to introduce his new venture is enormous. Vail will serve as center stage for the world's most acclaimed young choreographer."

The main performance, Aug. 10, will include several of Wheeldon's most successful works, along with previews of his newest creations. In addition, an up close and personal evening Aug. 8 at the Vilar Center will introduce a select audience to Wheeldon the artist, with a one of a kind look at and discussion of a work in progress, hosted by Woetzel."

Has Mr. Wheeldon got a company called MORPHOSES, has it appeared elsewhere?

My apologies if this posted elsewhere.

Share this post


Link to post

I think he choeographed a work called Morphoses in 2002. I guess there's a chance wires have been crossed in the article, or maybe he's given his new company (if he has one), that name too.

OK, after writing the above I googled 'christopher wheeldon' I came up a minimal website called morphoses.org which closely mirrors a site called christopherwheeldon.com and has a form you can fill in to 'to learn our plans'....

However, strictly steaking neither site has confirmation that they belong to the same CW we are talking about here and there's no biog, pictures or anything to indicate it is him, but I guess we can pretty safely assume these are his sites.

Share this post


Link to post
I think he choeographed a work called Morphoses in 2002. I guess there's a chance wires have been crossed in the article, or maybe he's given his new company (if he has one), that name too.

OK, after writing the above I googled 'christopher wheeldon' I came up a minimal website called morphoses.org which closely mirrors a site called christopherwheeldon.com and has a form you can fill in to 'to learn our plans'....

However, strictly steaking neither site has confirmation that they belong to the same CW we are talking about here and there's no biog, pictures or anything to indicate it is him, but I guess we can pretty safely assume these are his sites.

Thank you for this information.

Share this post


Link to post

If I read the NY Times correctly, the new company is to be called "Morphoses the Wheeldon Company." This kind of pretentious, unpunctuated prolixity doesn't work when actual people are involved. In baseball,"Oriole Park at Camden Yards" soon became just "Camden Yards," and, similarly, I trust this enterprise will be known as "the Wheeldon company."

Share this post


Link to post
If I read the NY Times correctly, the new company is to be called "Morphoses the Wheeldon Company." This kind of pretentious, unpunctuated prolixity doesn't work when actual people are involved. In baseball,"Oriole Park at Camden Yards" soon became just "Camden Yards," and, similarly, I trust this enterprise will be known as "the Wheeldon company."

Yup - or just plain 'Morphoses.' Whatever. The NYT article has some choice quotes.

He continued, “I’m sort of stepping into an area where people might think, ‘Why does New York need another ballet company when we’ve already got two?’ ” (In addition to City Ballet, New York is home to American Ballet Theater.) Answering his own question, he said, “Maybe it doesn’t, but I’m going to do it, and we’ll see if I’m foolish or not.”

Perhaps Martins should have had him sign a noncompete agreement. :)

Share this post


Link to post

On a less flippant note, this would seem to be a better move for Wheeldon, from the artistic point of view, than the peripatetic choreographic existence he’s been leading.

Share this post


Link to post
If I read the NY Times correctly, the new company is to be called "Morphoses the Wheeldon Company." This kind of pretentious, unpunctuated prolixity doesn't work when actual people are involved. In baseball,"Oriole Park at Camden Yards" soon became just "Camden Yards," and, similarly, I trust this enterprise will be known as "the Wheeldon company."

Oy hes got as much of a tin ear as Eliot Feld when it comes to naming his company it doesnt make sense anyway without punctuation but he he mght at least add one more word and let the world know its a dance company.

However, it's tremendously exciting news! I admire his boldness, and wish him the best.

Share this post


Link to post
Perhaps Martins should have had him sign a noncompete agreement. :)
He did, at least partially. That was why, when ABT presented its Wheeldon (VIII), it was a reworking of a ballet originally done on Hamburg. Wheeldon premieres in New York were the sole province of NYCB. I don't know whether that was a clause in his contract (and therefore null and void at contract's expiration), or whether NYCB has released him from that obligation out of friendship.

I'm very curious about the dancers he'll hire.

Share this post


Link to post
I'm going to hell for this, but "Morphoses the Wheeldon Company" reminds me in grammatical construction of "Toad the Wet Sprocket". http://www.toadthewetsprocket.com/

I keep thinking, "Well, yes but how?"

I'll be joining you on a bench there. I get so itchy when people give their ensembles tricky names. I've written calendar copy for years, and my eyes roll every time I get one of those twisters.

More central to the actual thread here, I'm wondering if this is in fact a good move for him. No matter how peripatetic the life of an itinerant choreographer (which, like any freelancer, is as much about getting the assignment as it is making the work) running your own shop has tasks and responsibilities that he hasn't had to deal with, as a hired hand. It may mean a certain amount of artistic freedom, but I don't know that it guarantees any additional time in the studio.

On the plus side, smaller ensembles are much more likely to tour than large groups, which may mean that people outside the bigger dance towns will see something of his work.

(ETA) The article mentions that the group will perform work by other choreographers as well -- any speculation about what work Wheeldon might program alongside his own?

Share this post


Link to post
More central to the actual thread here, I'm wondering if this is in fact a good move for him. No matter how peripatetic the life of an itinerant choreographer (which, like any freelancer, is as much about getting the assignment as it is making the work) running your own shop has tasks and responsibilities that he hasn't had to deal with, as a hired hand. It may mean a certain amount of artistic freedom, but I don't know that it guarantees any additional time in the studio.

He does have Lourdez Lopez to handle the admin tasks, according to the Times article. I have to wonder if Martins is smiling to himself, knowing that in his new position, Wheeldon will have to spend some of that studio time fundraising (and understanding how much energy and time it takes), although having partners like Vail and Sadler's Wells sounds like a great way to ensure base financial security.

What I find promising among the 30- and 40-somethings that are starting small troupes or taking over companies as they ease out of performing careers are the murmurs of cooperation among them.

Share this post


Link to post

Lordy. All I can think of is "Xerox the Document Company" (Or rather, it was all I could think of until Leigh brought up "Toad the Wet Sprocket" -- yes, Leigh, you will indeed burn in hell!) Maybe Martins helped him choose the name. :)

We can at least be thankful that the spaces were retained even as the punctuation was jettisoned -- i.e., that we haven't been presented with some variant of MorPHoseStheWheeldonCompany.

How does one say "Morphoses" anyway? Mor´phoses or Mor-pho´ses?

In any event, it sounds too much like Morpheus, which will be a gift to any critic rendered somnolent by a dull program.

Share this post


Link to post

I think the role is a good one for him to assume; he'll learn to think like a director, not just a choreographer.

Since I'm already in hell for Toad the Wet Wheeldon Morphoses Sprocket Company (This is the time on Shprockets when we dance!) I'm going to reserve my guest suite by wondering who wants to connect the dots and wonder what the confluence of events was between Morphoses and McGregor's appointment at the Royal?

They're awfully close together. Related, or not?

Share this post


Link to post

I confess that part of me was a little disheartened that Wheeldon said in the Times article that he wasn't interested in inheriting a tradition...that he wanted to start from scratch (at least institutionally). Of course, I can understand why he might want to do that--for a Wheeldon "fan" this can't be anything but great news.

But I feel that ballet and the great ballet companies need choreographers who ARE interested in inheriting traditions and working within institutional frameworks. Balanchine did otherwise--but if he had been offered the Paris Opera Ballet I don't know that he would have... Perhaps. In the Ballets Russes documentary Baronova (I think it was she) says he wanted to be the person in charge...

Forsythe (whom Wheeldon mentions) and Feld are more recent models whose work at least stands in some relation to classical ballet--I haven't seen anything of their recent work so I can't say much! But I still find it troubling that the most promising ballet choreographers seem impelled to operate on what one might call a modern dance model: a smaller company centered on the vision of one founding figure.

Leigh--are you speculating that Wheeldon might have hoped to have been offered the Royal Ballet position? I would certainly prefer that it had gone to him, as I see him as a ballet choreographer, rather than McGregor (despite the fact that I would not, in fact, describe myself as a Wheeldon fan...yet at any rate). But it's hard for me to believe Mason wouldn't have gone for Wheeldon had he been available, and if he wanted that kind of position why not stay on at NYCB especially since he intends to keep his own company in New York and use a number of NYCB dancers....It sounds to me as if he really does want to be on his own.

Share this post


Link to post

Moses Supposes Morphoses is Wrong?

It's great he's getting his own company together. It must help the choreographer's muse to have his own company. (I imagine he'll still be available for commissions from the larger institutional companies). I wish him all luck in keeping his time mostly free from the business side of the venture... hopefully Lourdes Lopez will manage to make that work for him. I have often heard good things about her. Just possibly Christopher Wheeldon has lucked out.

Share this post


Link to post
Moses Supposes Morphoses is Wrong?
:D

. . . supposes Morphoses erroneously!

Share this post


Link to post

if he gets more than just one, it can be Morphoses a Wheeldon Company like AOL a Time Warner Company and eventually The Wheeldon Group of Companies.

Share this post


Link to post

Boo to the article writers/NYT fact-checkers (if any) for letting "Philadelphia Ballet" slip by--especially since the Times has covered extensively Wheeldon's Swan Lake with the PENNSYLVANIA Ballet!

Share this post


Link to post

Ray, I think fact checking went out with epaulement :D

Share this post


Link to post

Here's the part of the article that really intrigued me:

Mr. Wheeldon said he wanted to give dancers a greater voice, which is sometimes difficult in large companies like City Ballet. Referring to leaders of large companies in general, he said that casting decisions were not “always handled in a perfectly sensitive way.”

“My mission is to create an environment that is collaborative in all respects,” he said.

Collaboration is part of the choreographic process for many choreographers, as I understand it. That makes sense. But collaborative casting? How workable is that?

Share this post


Link to post

That was the part that stood out for me, too, and I'm not sure I know what it means. But it does remind me of the close working group around Kenneth Macmillan described by Lynn Seymour in her autobiography. In the early years it included her and other dancers or designers for the Royal's touring company, I really forget the details. It is at least refreshing to expect the dancers to contribute to the content of his work, as opposed to the infantilization that often takes place.

Share this post


Link to post
How does one say "Morphoses" anyway? Mor´phoses or Mor-pho´ses?
It depends on whether the number is plural or singular which is not evident by the english spelling.

Assuming it's singular, it's μόρφωσις (MOR-fos-ses, meaning form, the act of shaping etc in newer usage it may even mean education) Assuming it's plural (more likely), it's μορφώσεις (mor-FOS-ses, meaning forms, shapes etc)

Share this post


Link to post
Here's the part of the article that really intrigued me:
Mr. Wheeldon said he wanted to give dancers a greater voice, which is sometimes difficult in large companies like City Ballet. Referring to leaders of large companies in general, he said that casting decisions were not “always handled in a perfectly sensitive way.”

“My mission is to create an environment that is collaborative in all respects,” he said.

Collaboration is part of the choreographic process for many choreographers, as I understand it. That makes sense. But collaborative casting? How workable is that?

My hunch is that eventually he will find himself having to handle casting issues in a less than 'perfectly sensitive way.’ Maybe he'll send flowers or a nice gift along with the bad news?

Share this post


Link to post