Melissa Hamilton and Eric Underwood in Tryst Pas de Deux, music by James MacMillan, choreography by Christopher Wheeldon. Dance Open 2015 Gala Concert, shot on 27.4.2015 in Alexandrinsky Theatre, St Petersburg.
Melissa Hamilton is a First Soloist with The Royal Ballet (London, UK). She has born in Northern Ireland, Belfast and grew up in Dromore, County Down. She began dancing aged four and trained at the Jennifer Bullick School of Ballet. During a summer school in Aberdeen aged 13 she decided to pursue ballet professionally. Aged 16 she trained at the Elmhurst School of Dance, Birmingham, for a year and then privately with Masha Mukhamedov in Athens. She won the 2007 Youth American Grand Prix and that year entered The Royal Ballet. She joined the Company in 2007 as an Artist and was promoted to First Artist in 2009, Soloist in 2010 and First Soloist in 2013.
Eric Underwood is a Soloist with The Royal Ballet. Underwood was born in Washington D.C. and at 14 began ballet training locally under the direction of Barbara Marks. At the end of his first year he joined the School of American Ballet, New York, later winning the school’s Philip Morris Foundation Scholarship. He graduated into the Dance Theatre of Harlem in 2000 and was promoted to soloist at the end of the season, before moving to American Ballet Theatre in 2003. He joined the Royal Ballet Company in 2006 as a First Artist and was promoted to Soloist in 2008.
Christopher Wheeldon, born 22 1973, is an English international choreographer of contemporary ballet. Wheeldon began training to be a ballet dancer at the age of 8. He attended the Royal Ballet School between the ages of 11 and 18. In 1991, Wheeldon joined the Royal Ballet, London; and in that same year, he won the Gold Medal at the Prix de Lausanne competition. In 1993, at the age of 19, Wheeldon moved to New York City to join the New York City Ballet. Wheeldon was named Soloist in 1998. Wheeldon began choreographing for the New York City Ballet in 1997, while continuing his career as a dancer. He retired as a dancer in 2000 in order to focus on his choreography. In 2001, Wheeldon became the New York City Ballet resident choreographer and first resident artist. He was productive in this position, choreographing a number of much lauded works for the troupe, Polyphonia being the first. He quickly developed a reputation as a talented choreographer, and several other eminent ballet companies, such as the San Francisco Ballet, the Bolshoi Ballet, and the Royal Ballet, London have commissioned dances from him.
Photos by Jack Devant Ballet Photography with kind permission of the Dance Open and Alexandrinsky Theatre, special thanks to Ekaterina Galanova and Adelia Mukhamedzhanova.