Ballet dancers are fluid and perform without boundaries. They’re free in motion.
When an audience can feel the dancer’s intensity, poise and fragility, the dancer has become an accomplished dancer.
On March 26 and 27, 2010, watch the Joffrey Ballet do as such at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. Part of the program is Age of Innocence, specifically choreographed for the Joffrey Ballet by Chinese American Choreographer, Edward Liang.
The Miami audience should expect a technically challenged program. Confidently, Artistic Director Ashley Wheater notes, “It shows the brilliance of the program and the ease the company dances. It doesn’t matter where they dance…in Chicago, Iowa, Miami, New York or London. They are so committed and connect with the audience.”
With a stellar resume, the young and accomplished 48-year old Wheater, takes pride in his company of 42 dancers. In 2007, this former ballet master of San Francisco Ballet and former member of both The Royal Ballet and Joffrey Ballet, became Artistic Director for Joffrey Ballet. In a unanimous decision by the Joffrey Ballet’s board of directors, Wheater took the reins to continue the traditions of Robert Joffrey. With humility in his voice, “I feel incredibly fortunate. This comes along once in your life. It’s a huge compliment to be asked to apply for the job and given the job. I felt really supported coming in.”
Wheater’s approach is to keep Joffrey Ballet consistent through time. His inspiration to keep Joffrey on point is to give all his dancers equal opportunities. “There is no ranking. There is equal opportunity for every single person to have the opportunity to do a lead role. A choreographer has free reign on who they would like to use.”
As a teacher and choreographer, it’s important for Wheater to give as much time as he can to the dancers. He spends three times a week, 5-6 hours a day teaching. He continues to follow the lines of master instructor, Robert Joffrey, and uses teaching to shape and mold the company. There is still a great love for teaching for Wheater. He learned from The Royal Ballet to take the best of the Russian, French and English schools. “I prefer to look at everything and ask what do we need? We dance any amount of eclectic, diverse repertoire. For me, it’s the foundation in teaching that we use vocabulary of language that is classical ballet.”
With his continued commitment for dance, Wheater’s inspiration is to have the audience understand how the dancer can fully develop into an artist. From dancer to Artistic Director, Wheater is living the dream. He is extraordinarily thankful what has been given to him. It’s inspiring to see Ashley Wheater thoroughly enjoy his work and show an armful of gratitude.
Wheater adoringly reminisces what he told his mother during his first year at the Royal Ballet School, “One day I want to have my own company.” He continues, “Everyday I love coming to work, I love what we’re trying to create. To bring dance to a full realization; that it’s anchored, in it’s musical poise, it’s technical proficiency, uniquely individual even when they have to be together.”
For tickets, visit http://www.arshtcenter.org or call the Box Office at (305) 949-6722.
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