A review of the Royal Ballet and an appraisal of the state of Christopher Wheeldon's career by Luke Jennings in The Observer.
The restrained critical enthusiasm for Alice is unlikely to have pleased Wheeldon, who to outside eyes has led something of a charmed life. After training at the Royal Ballet School, and winning a coveted gold medal at the Prix de Lausanne, in 1991 he joined the Royal Ballet, where his fleet, stylish dancing swiftly made its mark. In 1993, while recovering from an injury, he saw a TV commercial offering anyone who bought a Hoover vacuum cleaner a free ticket to New York on Virgin Atlantic. He took up the offer, stayed, and by 2001 was resident choreographer at New York City Ballet. Since that date Wheeldon has created more than 20 repertoire works, almost all abstract, for major ballet companies. His work for the Royal Ballet has included the critically lauded Tryst (2002) and Aeternum (2013), for which he won an Olivier award. He is widely liked and admired, and last year married his long-term partner, the yoga instructor Ross Rayburn.