(b Melbourne, 15 Oct. 1969)
Australian dancer, choreographer, and director. He started studying at 17 but a year later won a scholarship to San Francisco Ballet School, also performing small roles with the company. In 1989 he joined Australian Ballet and in 1990 created his first work for the company, The Three of Us, followed by Of Blessed Memory (mus. Canteloube, 1991), Divergence (1994), and others. He was appointed resident choreographer of Australian Ballet in 1995 and went on to make many works for the company, including Madam Butterfly (mus. Puccini, arr. Lanchbery, 1995), Corroboree (mus. John Antill, 1995), Cinderella (1997), Velocity (mus. Torke, 2003), and a new staging of Sleeping Beauty (2005). His classically based style reflects the influence of modern choreographers like Graham and Limón in its weight and fluency, but also tends towards a more fractured edginess and while working at Australian Ballet Welch became one of the most internationally sought-after choreographers of his generation, making Powder (mus. Mozart, 1998) for Birmingham Royal Ballet, Indigo (mus. Vivaldi, 1999), and Bruiser (mus. Graeme Koehne, 2000) for Houston Ballet, Clear (mus. George Harrison, 2000) for American Ballet Theatre, as well as works for San Francisco Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, and Moscow Dance Theatre. In 2003, after a brief period as associate choreographer with BalletMett, he was appointed director of Houston Ballet. He has created numerous works for the company, including Tales of Texas (mus. several) and Bolero (mus. Ravel) both 2004, Nosostros (mus. Rachmaninoff, 2005), Brigade (2006), Swan Lake (2006), The Four Seasons (mus. Vivaldi, 2007), A Doll's House (mus. István Márta, 2008), and Marie (mus. several, 2009) as well as bringing works by Wheeldon, van Manen, Forsythe, Robbins and others into the repertory. A list of his other created works includes Tu Tu (mus. Ravel, 2003), Falling (mus. Mozart, 2005), Naked (mus. Poulenc, 2008), all for San Francisco Ballet; Carmina Burana (American Ballet Theatre, 2003). He has additionally staged works for Colorado Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Royal New Zealand Ballet, and Tulsa Ballet among others.