Artistic Director André Lewis announced the new roster for Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s upcoming 71st season.
Eight current RWB dancers have been promoted from within the Company: Amanda Green and Jo-Ann Sundermeier to First Soloist and Maureya Lebowitz, Serena Sandford and Chelsea Lindsay to Second Soloist and Tristan Dobrowney to Corps de Ballet. Joining the Company as a Corps de Ballet dancer is New Zealander, Harrison James. RWB School Professional Division Aspirants Alex Lantz and Beth Lamont will join the RWB Company as Apprentices.
This will mark Tara Birtwhistle’s final season as a professional dancer, as she retires after two and a half outstanding decades with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. As her farewell performance, she has specially selected the poignant and heartrending ballet The Ecstasy of Rita Joe.
Tara Birtwhistle Photo: Grajewski Fotograph Inc.
Born in Vancouver, BC, Tara Birtwhistle grew up in Sherwood Park, Alberta and later moved to Red Deer, Alberta. In 1986, she began her professional training with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School Professional Division. She graduated in 1991 and immediately joined the RWB as a corps de ballet member. In 1995, she was promoted to soloist and in 2000 became a principal dancer. Birtwhistle was nominated for a Gemini Award for her stunning performance in Guy Maddin’s film Dracula: Pages From a Virgin’s Diary, a screen adaptation of the ballet. She has danced for Her Majesty the Queen during the International Stars of Ballet 2006 in Tokyo and performed at the Gala des Etoiles. Among the many accolades behind her name, Birtwhistle was designated “One of 100 Young Canadians to Watch in the New Millennium” by Maclean’s magazine. Tara Birtwhistle recently became a new mother. She and husband Dmitri Dovgoselets welcomed daughter Isabella Helena Dovgoselets on May 9, 2009.
In celebration of Birtwhistle’s tremendously successful career and in conjunction with the opening of Dracula in Winnipeg, the RWB is launching a Letters to Tara campign. Birtwhistle's many fans and followers are invited to write personal messages to the star dancer expressing what her twenty years of dance have meant to them.
To learn more about the recently promoted RWB Company dancers, click on the following links:
Amanda Green, First Soloist
Jo-Ann Sundermeier, First Soloist
Maureya Lebowitz, Second Soloist
Serena Sandford, Second Soloist
Chelsea Lindsay, Second Soloist
Tristan Dobrowney, Corps de Ballet
Harrison James, Corps de Ballet