I'm here....I'm here!
For the record, I've just seen Wheeldon's NYCB ballets, so I can't comment on his full length and non NYCB ballets.
I've heard people comment that he tends to use to many props and be too "obvious" at times. I didn't mind the carousel "poles" in "Carousel" and thought his "recreation" of the carousel was rather cool! However, I think that it lost something in the regular season performances because of sloppy dancing, and possibly some changes in the choreography. However, I really was swept away by the pas de deux in "Carousel". It might not have been the most original choreography, but it was moving (especially with Millepied and Ansanelli), it flowed and it captured the mood of the music perfectly.
"Mercurial Manoeuvres", I like more each time I see it. It's a perfect ballet for NYCB, with crisp, quick footwork, a chance for Millepied to show off his bravura skills, a chance for some
inredible partnering, and sections to show off the corps. With the flowing, bright red panels, it doesn't look like any other NYCB ballet.
Back to the commments on overuse of "props".
Frankly, I think Wheeldon, of all the newer choreographers at NYCB, has kept things simple. Other than the poles in "Carousel" he's limited himself to the red panels in "Mercurial Maouerves" and the moving strip of backdrop in "Morphoses". To me, it's refreshingly plain in comparision to the sets in many of Peter Martins' ballets-the ballroom in his latest ballet etc., and some of the other Diamond Project Ballet sets.
I really like Wheeldon's style. I think he strikes a nice balance between tradition and being a little different. It seems like a lot of newer choreographers are trying too hard to come up with something new.
Also, especially at NYCB (where he danced for many years), he seems to know the dancers well, and usually picks dancers that are well-suited for his choreography. (The one exception, I think, was matching Damian Woetzel & Jock Soto is some side by side choreography in "Morphoses". Soto may be one of the best partners in ballet today, but he just can jump as high or spin as fast as Woetzel-body type and age work against him).
I don't know whether it is directly attributable to Wheeldon, but his ballets seemed to be the best dressed. The blue dresses in "Mercurial ..." were simple, but zippy, and the "Carousel" costumes were delightfully colorful. In both, the costumes suited the choreography (not just stylish for stylish sake) and looked good on all the dancers.
To me, what's most exciting about Wheeldon is that he is talented and he's young and he's getting a wide range of opportunites to experiment and refine his choreography. He's getting a chance to really figure out who he is, and not just set the same ballets on the same company. We will, hopefully, be seeing his choreography for years to come, and with all the opportunities he's getting around the world, he will have many chances to learn and improve upon his skills.
I can't wait to see his latest ballet at NYCB "Carnival of the Animals" with John Lithgow narrating and apparently Christine Redpath having some special role in ballet (see the NYCB webpage...their announcement hints at her possibly being in the ballet). Sounds like it could be quite a ballet, and it reminds me of the stories about Balanchine having his dancers imitate animals. Any guesses as to who will be what?