Your faithful social media gal, Michelle was given the opportunity to travel with the dancers, staff and crew of the RWB on the last leg of the Sleeping Beauty tour out east. Of course I jumped at the opportunity and to be honest wasn't sure what I was getting into to but came out with little to no damage and lots of behind the scenes knowledge and memories!
I flew out to meet everyone in Kingston, a picturesque university town. Was greeted with weather in the plus! Quickly took my coat off and revelled in the beautiful weather. Note; it was minus 16 when I left Winnipeg!
The dancers were just coming off a three night performance to sold out crowds in Ottawa, our nation's capital. So well received, we had standing ovations each night. I met up with everyone and off we went!
'Potomkin is the epitome of the danseur noble: Elegant, expressive
carriage, magnificent lines and grand, lofty jumps. Sophia Lee, with her
majestic développé, lovely port de bras and serene hauteur, was superb
as the Lilac Fairy. And Amar Dhaliwal brought the house down as the
wicked fairy Carabosse, hamming it up in full drag with obvious relish' -Natasha Gauthier, Ottawa Citizen
Travelled to Belleville that night to perform at The Empire Theatre, a tiny quaint theatre in downtown Belleville. I was told this was our smallest backstage area to date. It was cosy packed with dancers, staff, crew, & dressers. That night I worked alongside RWB's cheeky crew, listening to the show being called with stage manager Ingrid Kotkke in the house, handing out ice packs with physiotherapist Sam Steinfeld and ensuring front of house looks just right with company manager Tasia Geras. During down time, I managed to plop down check emails and snap some fun photos. It was a whirlwind of a performance including quick changes, snacks, laughs, a few grumbles, lots of tutus and a whole lot of energy!
The audience in Belleville simply loved the sleeping beauty. With such an intimate venue the patrons were up close with the dancers, feeling their energy, their spirit. We had quite a few people approach artistic director Andre Lewis post show with nothing but kind words and lovely praise. One patron wrote us;
'it is with pleasure that I am writing to you about the
outstanding performance of “Sleeping Beauty” in Belleville, Ontario, yesterday.
I have had the honor and pleasure to watch you speak at the beginning of the
performance and later the company
perform. We had seats in the third row and were up close and personal. I was
taken by the emotional way of performing on this high skill level .The smiles
on the faces despite the strain on the entire body of the dancers was
amazing. Please give my thank you and appreciation to all the company members,
dancers and technician and everybody involved to make this show such a night to
remember. I hope that I have the opportunity again to see the ballet company
maybe with another production.'
The next day was a day of rest for the dancers and a day of work for me (I did manage to stop at chanchos for dinner and heel boy for shoes on the way to the theatre!) while we geared up to perform in Kingston at The Grand Theatre. A beautiful space with exposed brick and matching seats. I spent some time with principal Amanda Green and soloist Yosuke Mino who had a smaller role and was finished early and had a night off, respectively. They regaled me with tour stories from the past. I held mirrors for dancers, searched the garbage for a lost Carabosse ring, snapped photos of the beautiful tutus and let the experience soak in. The show was so well received! Lots of bravos, lots of cheers and giggles. The audience was filled with sweet little girls gazing longingly up at the Princess Aurora. Post show chat had Andre Lewis, aspirant Katie Bonnell, soloist Yosuke Mino, and principal Jo-Ann Sundermeier answering questions and signing autographs for adoring fans. A perfect end to the night.
Up and at 'em, off to Mississauga the next morning to perform at The Living Arts Centre. Funny story. So green to the tour circuit, I didn't know to read the call board the night before. Our leave time had changed from 11 to 10. So I thought I was golden getting up early to work and get ready for 11. Thank goodness I packed the night before because we I got the call from Tasia that they were leaving in 1 minute I've never moved so fast! Typical newbie!
Think touring with the RWB is glamorous? Think again! Not
5 minutes at the hotel and I got trapped in an elevator with 4 dancers! We were
stranded for a 45 minutes before we were rescued!
Bus to the Living Arts Centre theatre, a larger space than the last two. We had such overwhelmingly positive responses to our performance that night.
'My husband and I saw the performance last night at the
Living Arts Centre in Mississauga, Ontario. The performances were not only
mesmerizing, but also perfect, with such amazing precision. And all the dancers
looked wonderful in their fabulous costumes. And, they have so much stamina,
they are also athletes.
You made me proud, again last night, to be a Canadian. I find mediocrity is the norm in life, but that term certainly doesn't apply to the Royal Winnipeg Ballet; it is excellent.'
'There was some exquisite dancing by the soloists, we
particularly enjoyed Sophia Lee, Chenxin Liu and Serena Sandford's performances
- Thiago Dos Santos was masterfully entertaining - and Amanda Green and
Dmitri Dovgoselets, both individually and together, were spectacular.
'Yosuke Mino is a dancing dynamo who managed to be both graceful and athletic in the role’s never-ending series of jumps. Alanna McAdie as a brightly smiling Princess Florine brought clarity to her intricate footwork.' -Paula Citron, The Globe & Mail
As per usual, spent some time with Sam and the crew. I
snuck in some video and photos, watched from backstage (a truly magical
experience) and we finished off the night in the hotel lounge. A night full of
Next day was a true day off. Swimming, eating, resting, emails, working, swimming, eating. Everyone scattered during the day and met up for dinner.
Friday comes around and unfortunately, though I was
meticulously careful, I succumbed to the tour plague. Not fun and missing my
last show was absolutely the worst, but health always comes first. So I stayed
in, ate soup, caught up on some work affairs and sent lots of good vibes to my
dancer pals and in turn they texted me photos all night so I felt like I was almost there. No surprise the show was well received like all the other cities!
We performed for the Hamilton crowd at the Hamilton place.
On Saturday the dancers headed off to London for the final performance at The Budweiser Gardens and I headed home! What an experience!