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Wendy Whelan to Dance at OBT's Dance United


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Welcome Ballet Legend Wendy Whelan and

Say Farewell to

Hometown Legend Artur Sultanov at

Dance United June 9th

Oregon Ballet Theatre is thrilled to announce that the June 9th season finale celebration, Dance United will give Oregon the opportunity to welcome an international ballet legend, NY City Ballet principal dancer Wendy Whelan, and say a fond farewell to hometown legend Artur Sultanov, who will give one final performance at Dance United before retiring this summer.

Details on Artur’s retirement in the media release here.

About Wendy Whelan: Considered one of the defining artists of her generation, Wendy Whelan’s 28 year career with the New York City Ballet has included originating roles for major works by Ratmansky, Wheeldon, Robbins and Forsythe, as well as performing in over 25 Balanchine works. She is often called the “quintessential Balanchine ballerina who has never worked with him.” Whelan arrived at NY City Ballet the year before Balanchine passed away, and began her career steeped in the traditions of the dancers whose careers were defined by his genius. Now, she mentors the younger members of the company, passing on the essential technique that help the work stay alive and fresh for a new generation of artists and audiences. You can read more about Wendy in her official NYCB bio and this recent New York Times feature story about her life and work.

Dance United will be Wendy’s first appearance in Portland, Oregon and we look forward to sharing this very special opportunity to see one of the world’s most respected dancers perform.


Note: This is an edited version of the press release sent by the company. Text about Mr. Sultanov's retirement was deleted but linked directly (as Helene has already posted the important facts).

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OBT's Dance United started out as a one-time emergency event -- the company was in the red at the end of the season (I cannot remember what year) and needed to raise money or go under. AD Christopher Stowell put out a call to friends around the dance world, of which he has many, and they presented one of those evenings where everyone does their party piece. It was a juicy program, the company raised what they needed, and although people said "gosh, maybe we should do this every year" the original was as much about fundraising as it was about ballet. I think they've presented this event at the end of every season since then, but the emergency part of the fundraising is no longer the case.

It seems to me, totally anecdotally, that more and more companies are presenting special season opening and/or closing events. In the past, it seemed that those kinds of performances were pretty much limited to large institutions like ABT or NYCB, but I've seen more listings for them in the next tiers down recently.

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