Wendy Whelan talks about her most challenging role to date: being a star in the process of change.
“Each month, I was in a new place of letting go,” says Wendy Whelan, whose then-impending retirement from New York City Ballet and transformation as a dancer are captured in the documentary Restless Creature.
On August 28, New York City Ballet’s legendary principal dancer Wendy Whelan will discuss the film Restless Creature at the Southampton Arts Center. The documentary shows the heartbreaking, raw, and ultimately liberating story of the beloved 50-year-old star as she confronts her body’s limitations and reinvents herself in a distinctly unforgiving profession.
Was it difficult to be so vulnerable? “I had no choice but to surrender. I had lost my physicality as I’d come to know it over my lifetime, and it was terrifying to reveal that. However, it was a relief to be able to express myself with words. Relief was slowly surfacing during the 16 months of filming. Each month, I was in a new place of letting go. The film captured the peeling away of these layers.”
Were you tempted to give up? “There was never a moment of ‘I can’t do this anymore.’”
How did you persevere? “I got great pleasure from the experience of my own development. I became addicted to process. Learning and trying new things, and finding hidden or untapped talents within myself, is something I find super gratifying.” 25 Jobs Lane, 631-283-0967; southamptonartscenter.org