Renée Wadleigh—a New York City–based dancer, choreographer, and teacher for nearly 30 years—danced with the Paul Taylor Dance Company, Dan Wagoner and Dancers, and the Mel Wong Dance Company, among others, and taught at the Taylor School. She was on the faculty at Adelphi University and Cornell University; taught her own classes in New York City; presented concerts from 1981 to 1989; received Choreographers' Fellowship Grants from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1985, 1986, and 1988; and taught and set works on university and professional companies in the United States and abroad.
In Illinois, Wadleigh received grants from the Illinois Arts Council for choreography in 1993, 1995, 1997, 1999, and 2001; received a Finalist Award in 2005; and was a company grant panelist from 1997 to 1999. Wadleigh choreographed 49 new works for students at the U of I and set dances on university and professional companies in the United States and abroad.
Wadleigh founded and taught the required MFA courses Contemporary Directions: Media—in the department's first Media Lab established in her office—Dance for Camera, and Composition Workshop that included the section Site Specificity. She established and taught the senior seminar Viewing Dance and regularly taught advanced and intermediate sections of Contemporary Physical Practice and MFA and BFA composition courses. She established Video Crew, an undergraduate body trained to document all departmental performances, and established an MFA half-time assistantship—the graduate media coordinator—which was recently replaced by a full-time hire.
Wadleigh served as assistant to the MFA director from early in her hire, as co-MFA director from 2001 to 2004, and as director from 2004 to 2009. She served as a member of the MFA Committee from her hire.
In April 2012, Wadleigh was honored on stage at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater, along with the four other original cast members of the Paul Taylor Dance Company's Aureole, during a gala evening and performance celebrating the work's 50th year. In March 2014, Wadleigh performed Taylor's From Sea to Shining Sea with other company alumni as part of the company's 60th-year celebration also held at the David H. Koch Theater.
Wadleigh continues to collect dance works on video by leaders in the field across the United States and around the world and is building a video library of works by alumni for the department's 50th anniversary celebration in November 2018.