Monday, May 13, 2013

William Whitener

For thirty years, William Whitener has been active as a dancer, teacher, choreographer and director and has worked with leaders of contemporary American ballet, including Robert Joffrey, Jerome Robbins, and Twyla Tharp. Mr. Whitener has served as Artistic Director of  Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal and Kansas City Ballet.

At age 11, he was the recipient of a Ford Foundation scholarship to study with the San Francisco Ballet School. As a child, he performed with the Bolshoi Ballet in their production of Ballet School. As a teenager, he was trained by Robert Joffrey, who invited him to join the New York City Opera Ballet and, subsequently, the Joffrey Ballet. 

Mr. Whitener joined the original Broadway cast of Bob Fosse's Dancin' in 1978. Later that year, he began an eight-year association as a leading dancer with the Twyla Tharp Dance Company. He performed internationally and for President Ronald Reagan at the White House. He also assisted Twyla Tharp with works for American Ballet Theatre with Mikhail Baryshnikov. He has staged Ms. Tharp’s ballets for Kansas City Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet, The Juilliard School and Ballet du Capitole de Toulouse in France.

He expanded his career into the world of film and television, appearing in Amadeus, and the ABC television production of Bye Bye Birdie. Other television credits include the premiere episode of the PBS series Dance in America, The Dick Cavett Show and the BBC production of The Catherine Wheel. 

Mr. Whitener has choreographed works for many ballet companies including Kansas City Ballet, Boston Ballet, The Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal, Ballet Hispanico with the Tito Puente Ensemble, Hartford Ballet, Joffrey II, and Princeton Ballet. He also choreographed solos for Broadway performers Ann Reinking and Tommy Tune. 

He has been a member of the faculties of Harvard University, University of Washington, Concord Academy, and Pacific Northwest Ballet. He was nominated for the National Corporate Fund for Dance American Choreograper Award and served as an Evaluator and Advisory Committee member for the International Ballet Competition 2006.  Mr. Whitener has served on the dance panels for National Endowment for the Arts, Pew Charitable Trust Fund, Bush Foundation, New England Foundation for the Arts, Herb Alpert/CAL Arts Awards, and the Board of Trustees of DANCE/USA. 

Photograph copyright 2013 Larry F. Levenson. All rights reserved.

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