Kent Suss (far right) with RWB Aspirants on the Connections Tour (Phase I)
Photo: Bruce Monk
It is the final day of Phase II of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s Connections Tour project, and the students are in a state of focused concentration as they meticulously apply their zombie makeup. They are about to perform a program of dance, theatre, and their own original music for an invited audience of family, artists, and well-wishers. Not one of them will admit to being nervous.
The thirteen students from Northern Manitoba are an adventurous bunch. They have acted on our invitation to spend three days living in the RWB dorms and participating in workshops from morning until night in a variety of arts disciplines. In the evenings they have visited Manitoba Theatre for Young People at The Forks and The Graffiti Gallery in Point Douglas. They have seen two very different faces of Winnipeg; the industrial concrete and grinding traffic of Point Douglas stands in sharp contrast to the prevalence of greenery and cobblestone at The Forks. The RWB’s downtown location strikes yet another urban mood – it is late June and throngs of sun-seeking office workers and shoppers fill the surrounding plazas and coffee shops.
Katie Bonnell recently graduated from the RWB School Professional Division. She shares her thoughts about what it means to be a graduate of the program.
Katie Bonnell Photo: Bruce Monk
I was a late starter to the world of professional ballet training. I arrived at RWB School three years ago not knowing what to expect, but hoping that my dreams of becoming a professional ballet dancer would be realized. My body had a hard time keeping up with the expectations of an advanced level student. During my first two years at the school, various injuries held me back from reaching my full potential. Had I been at a different school, I suspect I might have been tempted to just give up, but the support and understanding of the artistic staff, as well as the unwavering encouragement of my fellow students, enabled me to stay focused while I recovered and regained strength.
In honour of Father's Day this weekend, we asked Emily Grizzell, RWB Soloist to say a few words on how her husband Amar Dhaliwal, RWB Second Soloist is a great father to their young daughter Lucie.
Living in Winnipeg, away from our families, we are pretty isolated. I am so grateful for how well Amar, Lucie and I function as a little family unit. Many mornings we are woken up by a little voice "Daddy, where are you?" Amar answers, "Lucie, where are you?" He takes her downstairs and sets her on the kitchen counter while he makes his tea so she can be right in the middle of the action.
Whenever we hit a stumbling block with our parenting we just look at each other and ask ourselves, what do we do now? We talk through it, weighing the options and make the choice thats best for all three of us. We have been lucky to find people in our lives who we can really count on now to help us with her care, but everything still originates from our little unit.