Meet Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Destiny Wimpye

June 4, 2024

Whether she’s in the studio—fearlessly flexible in a grand jété with her arms playfully thrown back—or onstage—fast and precise in her first lead role as The Nutcracker’s Lead Marzipan—Pacific Northwest Ballet corps dancer Destiny Wimpye glows. In Kiyon Ross’ new …throes of increasing wonder last season, she skittered across the floor, devouring the space. But more than dazzling leaps and quadruple pirouettes, it’s in her smaller movements, beautifully turned out, arms poised yet wondrously alive, that Wimpye shines onstage, exuding strength but also vulnerability.

 Pacific Northwest Ballet

Age: 20

Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia

Training: Debbie Allen Dance Academy, Colburn School, Pacific Northwest Ballet Professional Division

On her own: At 9, Wimpye relocated to Los Angeles, with mom in tow, to train at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy. By 13, she was on her own at the Colburn School. “I think that helped me to mature, both mentally and emotionally. I gained the independence and strength that I need to succeed in this industry,” she says.

Connecting with audiences: Wimpye has carved out time for high-profile gigs, appearing as a solo dancer on TV for a Mariah Carey holiday special, dancing for Michelle Obama at the White House, starring in an Hourglass Cosmetics campaign opposite Twyla Tharp, and acting in a principal role on the hit show “This Is Us.” The professional credits add to her artistry. “For me, a huge part of dance is telling a story, not just with your body but also emoting with your face—acting’s helped with that,” she says. “But onstage, I just let loose and enjoy myself.”

Growth and giving back: “I’ve been through big ups and downs in my life, but my mom has made sure that I was surrounded by great mentors.” Joining Brown Girls Do Ballet gave Wimpye support. “For 10 years, it’s allowed me to have Black and brown professional ballerinas as mentors—ballerinas that looked like me. Now, I’m a mentor myself­ and it’s still just as rewarding.”

What her director is saying: Still in her first season as a full company member, “Destiny can easily be picked out of the corps de ballet for her singular presence and clean technique,” says PNB artistic director Peter Boal, “and she’s starting to take on more featured roles,” including Swan Lake’s Neapolitan Dance in February. “I often refer to ‘that thing you can’t teach,’ and Destiny has it. It’s engagement, presence, and joy that jumps over the footlights. It’s evident the moment she steps onstage.”

Memorable performance: Dancing with PNB in the finale of Balanchine’s “Diamonds” as a student in the Professional Division. “I had learned a few months earlier that I was being hired,” she says. “I got thrown in at the last minute for that performance. It felt like the start of my career and I had the realization that I was living out my dream!”

Free time: “I love to have relaxing days at home with my puppy, and traveling and exploring Washington,” says Wimpye. Her favorite TV show? “The Office.”

Career goals: “I feel really grateful because I can see the efforts being made to make the organization more diverse and inclusive,” says Wimpye, whose goals include dancing in the works of Balanchine, William Forsythe, and Crystal Pite, and even on Broadway—“I’m a huge fan of musicals,” she says. “But my biggest goal is becoming a principal dancer.”