Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet

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History: A Foundation for Excellence
“The company has never looked more resplendent, more assured, or more ravishing … a triumph for the indefatigable prairie troupe, a jewel box of sumptuous dancing…at every moment, the energy and youth radiating from the stage is palpable.” The Vancouver Sun
1939

1939

  • The Winnipeg Ballet Club, founded by Gweneth Lloyd and Betty Farrally, gives its first performances.
1953

1953

  • Winnipeg Ballet receives the first Royal charter granted by Queen Elizabeth II, becoming the first Royal ballet company of the Commonwealth.
1958

1958

  • Arnold Spohr, former RWB dancer, accepts the position of Artistic Director of the RWB, a position that he held until 1998.
1962

1962

  • RWB opens its General Division School under the direction of former RWB Principal Dancer, Jean McKenzie.
  • The Canadian School of Ballet changes its name to the School of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.
1968

1968

  • RWB wins two Gold Medals at the Paris International Dance Competition.
  • RWB is the first Western ballet company to tour the USSR and Czechoslovakia.
1970

1970

  • The Board of Directors of the RWB and Artistic Director Arnold Spohr realize that an integrated school is necessary to further the Company's growth. David Moroni, former RWB dancer, is designated to make this dream a reality.
1980

1980

  • Principal Dancers Evelyn Hart and David Peregrine win Gold and Bronze Medals at the World Ballet Concours in Japan.
1987

1987

  • Galina Yordanova's staging of Swan Lake premieres to a sold-out house and critical acclaim in Winnipeg.
1990

1990

  • RWB Soloist Mark Godden is appointed RWB's Resident Choreographer.
1996

1996

  • André Lewis is named Artistic Director of the RWB.
1998

1998

  • Artistic Director Emeritus Arnold Sphor receives the Governor General's Performing Arts Award at Rideau Hall ceremony and nationally televised gala.
2002

2002

  • The Canadian premiere of Mauricio Wainrot's Carmina Burana takes place in Winnipeg.
2009

2009

  • The RWB premieres Quantz by Quanz choreographed by Peter Quanz, the first Canadian to create a work for the legendary Kirov Ballet.
  • Six specially selected RWB dancers perform Quanz's In Tandem in New York, a piece commissioned for Works & Process at the Guggenheim.
2010

2010

  • The RWB shatters box office records, presenting Moulin Rouge® The Ballet to nearly 50,000 audience members from all across North America.
2011

2011

  • Shawn Hounsell's Wonderland World premieres in Winnipeg.
  • The RWB School's Professional Division celebrates its 40th Anniversary with an alumni reunion.
  • The RWB premieres Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room.
  • Principal Dancer Tara Birtwhistle retires after 20 seasons with the RWB Company.
  • Mark Godden's Svengali has its World Premiere in Winnipeg before touring to Saskatoon and Regina.
2012

2012

  • The international co-production of dance icon Twyla Tharp's The Princess & The Goblin has its World Premiere in Atlanta.
  • Jorden Morris' new ballet The Doorway: Scenes from Leonard Cohen has its World Premiere in Winnipeg.
2013

2013

  • The Sleeping Beauty graces stages in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Ontario to finish its 2013 run.
  • RWB launches its ambitious 2013/14 Season on April 23, 2013.

 

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