Wayne Eagling was born in Montreal, Canada. A large part of his youth was spent in California, where he was discovered by Michael Somes and Gerd Larsen in 1966 during a tour of America by the Royal Ballet. They invited him to complete his ballet training at the Royal Ballet School in London, and in 1969 he was accepted into the company. His long, pure lines and his control put him in a class of his own.
In 1972, he danced the first role created especially for him as the Brother in Triad, by Kenneth MacMillan. In September of the same year, he became a soloist and in 1975 he was promoted to principal.
Eagling has danced all the major classical roles from the Royal Ballet’s repertoire, and roles were created for him by choreographers like Kenneth MacMillan, Frederick Ashton, Hans van Manen, John Neumeier, Rudolf Nureyev, David Bintley and Glen Tetley. In 1991, he ended his career as a dancer to succeed Rudi van Dantzig as the artistic director of the Dutch National Ballet.
Over the years, Wayne Eagling has created many ballets. For the Royal Ballet, he created Frankenstein, The Modern Prometheus in 1985, and Beauty and the Beast the following year. In 1989, he did the choreography for the concert The Wall, on the occasion of the demolition of the Berlin Wall. In the same year, he also choreographed the videoclip I Want To Break Free, by the pop group Queen.
Eagling made the film Superstitious Man and worked with Robert Jude and Ross MacGibbon on the photo book The Company We Keep, about a tour by The Royal Ballet.
For the Dutch National Ballet, Wayne Eagling created Ruins of Time (1993), Symphony of Waves (1994) and Duet (1995). For the charity gala Dancing for Duchenne (in aid of children with Duchenne) he created Lost Touch (1995), and for the official opening of the Vermeer exhibition in the Mauritshuis in The Hague, he created Holding a Balance (1996).
In 1996, he collaborated with Toer van Schayk in creating the successful full-length production Nutcracker & Mouseking, and the Dutch National Ballet danced Eagling’s Frankenstein, The Modern Prometheus in the same year.
In 1999 – once again with Toer van Schayk – he choreographed the full-length ballet The Magic Flute. And for the opening of the exhibition Winters van weleer in the Mauritshuis, Eagling made Frozen (2001). In 1997, Eagling choreographed the ballet The Last Emperor for the Hong Kong Ballet. The Last Emperor was also performed in New York in 1998 and toured the US in 2001. In June 2003, a new work by Wayne Eagling was premiered at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in the United States. Wayne Eagling is currently the artistic director of English National Ballet.