A Chat With Wendy Whelan (pt3)

The second half of our conversation just got better and better. Just to recap In the first 2 segments Wendy talked quite earnestly and in depth about the treatments for her scoliosis and how it formed her as a dancer. The best quote was her response to how she feels about her body she replied:

“I see my body as a work of art

She also revealed that during that intense time of treatment, for a year she had an eating disorder which she overcame when her teachers told her that she could not return to the school if she did not gain weight. Her love for dance was her healing, she realized that she would have to give up the “power play” of restricting her eating in order to dance. Here in part 3 I asked her if there is anything that she covets in terms of her body or ability. In her answer you get to see how balanced and healthy her relationship to her body is. No doubt that (like her body) her perspective was a journey to arrive at, but it’s reassuring to hear that it is possible! I was amazed that she has only had one major injury and that was later in her career. Later we talk about aging and how it is affecting her, and what will be the next stage, I ask her if she has the desire to choreograph and she used this  wonderful analogy of liking being an ingredient vs the  chef  she said :

“I am a developed ingredient”

you can hear and see the maturing of her relationship to her body as it was and is and what it is becoming as she matures. It is so positive and healthy.

Plus! She gives us the heads up on a new dance project!!! hear it here first!



This is what I love most about these Chats, I get into the artistic head of “The Whelan”..  This section is like a master class! Check it out!

She talks about her process in the studio and admits that she is “Slow” in studio. She tells us how she builds a role, the subtext that results in her projection, quality and the layered depth of the performances that she gives. She speaks of using imagery, sensations, abstract shapes and to create purpose in movements, these act as physical and mental landmarks when revisiting  the role. Fascinating!


I love her explanation of how that subtext grows through the rehearsal process to orchestra rehearsal, performance and how it blossoms year after year and how that foundation informs her roles as she goes back in to them year after year.  She shares that her learned this artistic process from Ballet Master Bart Cook  — see working great artist creates great artist! When she gets a chance to do a talk or to teach she tells students , to:

“Get a little crazy”

Her generosity is palpable, She’s a sharer! My final question came from Twitter follower Christopher McDaniel:

“How do you stay so humble?”

The answer you have to hear, it is probably one of the reasons she is so accomplished, well like and respected in her field, and why so many love her as an artist and a woman, We should all take heed of her words!!!!!