April Company Spotlight

Apr 28 2016 | Posted in Spotlight

André Lewis’ milestone year as RWB’s Artistic Director for 20 years

With over 40 years with Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet, 20 of them as Artistic Director, André Lewis has spent the majority of his career with Canada’s first professional dance company. The company’s 2015/16 season is a milestone for Mr. Lewis as the Royal Winnipeg Ballet congratulates him on his anniversary of 20 years as Artistic Director.

A native of Gatineau, Québec, Lewis began his dance training in Ottawa before being accepted into the Professional Division of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School in 1975. He joined the RWB Company in 1979 where he enjoyed an accomplished career as a dancer for over ten years. In 1996, Lewis was appointed Artistic Director of Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

Since then has been the driving force behind the new and innovative works that have dramatically rejuvenated the Company’s repertoire. In 1998 he commissioned Mark Godden’s blockbuster production Dracula and was instrumental in the 1999 creation of a new Nutcracker for the Company. In 2002, Lewis brought to Winnipeg the thrilling and passionate Carmina Burana by Argentinean choreographer Mauricio Wainrot, and he presented a new version of The Sleeping Beauty. In 2003, he commissioned Mark Godden to create a new ballet based on the opera The Magic Flute and in 2004 he brought in choreographer Val Caniparoli to create A Cinderella Story, a retro retelling of the beloved fairy tale set to jazz and swing. Lewis commissioned choreographer and RWB alumnus Jorden Morris to create Peter Pan for the Company in 2006. In 2009, for RWB’s 70th anniversary, Lewis commissioned Morris to create Moulin Rouge® – The Ballet, which set record attendance levels at every performance and is the highest grossing show in RWB’s history. In 2011, Lewis commissioned Mark Godden to create Svengali, an explosive look at the original master of mind control, which premiered in Winnipeg in October 2012.

In 2012, Lewis and Atlanta Ballet Artistic Director John McFall co-commissioned a new creation by celebrated choreographer Twyla Tharp titled Twyla Tharp’s The Princess & The Goblin, based on the children’s fantasy novel of the same name by Victorian author George MacDonald. The ballet had its World Premiere in Atlanta in February 2012 and its Canadian premiere in September of the same year.

In 2013, Lewis commissioned another outstanding new creation in conjunction with New York choreographer Lila York. The full-length ballet The Handmaid’s Tale was a bold adaptation of the novel of the same name by Governor General Award-winning Canadian author Margaret Atwood.

Most recently, in 2014 for the RWB’s 75th anniversary season, Lewis commissioned choreographer Mark Godden to create the ground-breaking work Going Home Star – Truth and Reconciliation representing the many stories, both told and untold, by Indian Residential School Survivors and their families. Based on a story by Canadian author Joseph Boyden, the production received national critical acclaim.

In addition to his position as Artistic Director, Lewis is a sought-after ballet instructor and has guest taught throughout Europe and in Japan. He has set the ballet Romeo & Juliet on companies around the world, including Ballet de Marseille (France), Maggio Danza (Italy), Hong Kong Ballet and the Greek National Ballet.

Thank you for attending RWB’s 2016 Annual Ballet Ball

RWB Company Dancers PHOTO Manuel F. Sousa
RWB Company Dancers PHOTO Manuel F. Sousa

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet would like to gratefully thank all of this year’s sponsors and supports at this year’s Ballet Ball. Your support enables the Royal Winnipeg Ballet to continue to present the highest standard of excellence in Canadian dance to communities across our country and around the world. It also helps to provide opportunities for aspiring young dancers to pursue their dream and achieve their potential as our future artists.

RWB would also like to acknowledge this year’s sponsors:
Presenting Sponsor: TD Bank Group
Ball Sponsor: Winnipeg Building and Decorating LTD.
Dream Car Auction Sponsor: Birchwood Automotive Group
Dancer Dinner Sponsor: Natural Bakery
Print Sponsor: Dave’s Quick Print
Wine Sponsor: De Luca’s
Media Sponsor: Winnipeg Free Press
Photography Sponsor: Manuel F Sousa Photography
Contributing Sponsors: ADESA Auctions, McDiarmid Flowers, Freeman Audiovisual, Planned Perfectly, Rejean Photography, Stella’s Bridal

Peter Pan takes flight in May

RWB Soloist Yosuke Mino and Second Soloist Alanna McAdie Photo Réjean Brandt Photography
RWB Soloist Yosuke Mino and Second Soloist Alanna McAdie Photo Réjean Brandt Photography

This Spring the Royal Winnipeg Ballet invites you to join Peter Pan, Wendy, Tinker Bell, the lost boys and Captain Hook for a magical adventure to Neverland, filled with fantasy and marvelous thrills. Perfect for families and anyone who never wants to grow up, Peter Pan tells the story of Peter, who invites Wendy to Neverland to be the mother of his gang of Lost Boys. Many adventures ensue, including the near-death of Tinker Bell and a climactic confrontation with Peter’s nemesis, the pirate Captain Hook.

Tickets for Peter Pan start as low as $29.00 for adults plus taxes and fees and can be purchased online.

Save the Date for On The Edge!

RWB School Professional Division Student Photo: RWB Archives
RWB School Professional Division Student Photo: RWB Archives

On The Edge is an exciting and eclectic mixed programme which features cutting edge dance with a dynamic mix of contemporary and classical repertoire from the next generation of ballet stars from the RWB School’s Aspirant Program. Don’t miss this great opportunity to see RWB’s Professional Division Aspirants at their best from May 26-27 at 7:30 pm at RWB Founder’s Studio located at 380 Graham Avenue.

Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

Spotlight will feature 2 world premieres!

RWB School professional Division students Photo RWB Archives
RWB School professional Division students Photo RWB Archives

The RWB invites you to join this year’s production of Spotlight, a main stage feature production featuring students of the RWB School Professional Division from June 9-11. This year’s show will include two world premieres: Romani Song and The Little Match Girl.

Romani Song is inspired by the culture and passion of the Romani people, Romani Song tells the story of Violka and Manush, as they fall in love and dream of beginning their lives together.

The Little Match Girl features a girl unable to go home because she has yet not sold a single match. The little matchstick girl lights them one by one, finding comfort in the warmth of their flames, and in the beautiful visions they inspire. Based on the short story by Hans Christian Andersen.

Spotlight will also feature Paquita, a classical ballet known for its many virtuosic highlights, such as The Pas de Trois and the Grand Pas de Deux. Paquita is considered a quintessential work of the traditional classical ballet repertory.

To learn more and to purchase tickets, please click here.

Celebrating Tristan Dobrowney on the occasion of his retirement

RWB Second Soloist Tristan Dobrowney PHOTO RWB Archives
RWB Second Soloist Tristan Dobrowney PHOTO RWB Archives

As the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s 2015/16 season comes to a close, we also celebrate the retirement of RWB Second Soloist, Tristan Dobrowney.

Tristan Dobrowney entered the ballet world by way of Ukrainian dance at the age of six. He was accepted into the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School Professional Division in June 2002 and joined the RWB Company in 2008 as an Apprentice. He was promoted into the Corps de Ballet in 2011 and again to Second Soloist in 2014.

Dobrowney’s repertoire includes Gordon in Going Home Star, The Prince in Nutcracker, Matthew in Moulin Rouge® – The Ballet and Curdie in Twyla Tharp’s The Princess & The Goblin. He has performed in Peter Pan, Romeo + Juliet, Dracula, Swan Lake and Val Caniparoli’s A Cinderella Story. For the world premiere of Wonderland he danced as part of the Tweedledee & Tweedledum duo. His other RWB repertoire includes Mauricio Wainrot’s Carmina Burana; Peter Quanz’s Quantz by Quanz and In Tandem; Mark Godden’s As Above, So Below; Itzik Galili’s Hikarizatto and Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room.

In 2013 Tristan was invited to perform the world premiere of Pierced with Move: the company under the direction of Josh Beamish. For the past three seasons Dobrowney was invited by acclaimed choreographer Peter Quanz to perform in Q DANCE, and in the summer of 2015 he travelled to Wuxi, China as a Guest Artist with the Wuxi Song & Dance Theatre for the premiere of Quanz’s The Red Crowned Crane.

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet would like to congratulate Tristan on his many accomplishments as a dancer and wish him many more successes in his adventures.

It’s not too late to sign up for Sharing Dance Day!

Sharing Dance Day 2015 PHOTO Amy Simoes
Sharing Dance Day 2015 PHOTO Amy Simoes

Register here, and join us for a celebration of dance on Sharing Dance Day 2016 - Friday, June 3rd. Learn the awesome annual routine, perform it in your community, and fundraise along the way! It is 100% free to participate. Sharing Dance Day also includes FREE, fun activities for the whole family. As a Sharing Dance National Partner, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet is leading the charge in Winnipeg – improving access to, and delivering, FREE, quality dance programs to those that need it most.


Enter the code 5vj5w and follow the prompts to complete your registration.


Group A:
Wednesdays from 6:15-7:15 pm
April 6, April 13, April 20, April 27, May 4, May 11, May 18 & June 1, 2016

Group B:
Thursdays from 6:45-7:45 pm
April 7, April 14, April 28, May 5, May 12, May 19 & June 2, 2016

Register now for summer classes!

2015 Dance Intensive students Photo Amy Simoes
2015 Dance Intensive students Photo Amy Simoes

Summer is around the corner and registration is now open for Teachers’ Summer Workshop, Recreational Division Dance Intensive and Adult Summer Dance. With so many great opportunities, this summer is sure to be another amazing year!

Subscribe to RWB’s 2016/17 Season!

Company dancers Katie Bonnell and Liang Xing Photo: Rejean Brandt Photography
Company dancers Katie Bonnell and Liang Xing Photo: Rejean Brandt Photography

Enjoy the benefits of joining the RWB family and subscribe today.

The RWB’s 2016/17 kicks off in October with the stunningly dark production of Dracula. Enjoy this captivating production, set to a glorious score by Gustav Mahler, with opulent sets and costumes. Just in time for Halloween, this dark fantasy is faithful to Bram Stoker’s gothic novel, brimming with passion and fearful suspense. The season continues with family-favorite Nutcracker in December and Mixed Programme in January featuring Angels in the Architecture, a homage to the Shakers of 19th century America’s largest and best known communal society.

In spring of 2016, the world-premiere of an innovative new creation will take the stage, followed by Q DANCE, an adventure into the unknown and exploration that offers diversity in repertoire. Q DANCE is an exciting laboratory of dance creation where works in process are shown alongside polished, award-winning ballets.

A second world-premiere will delight audiences. Vespers, a new ballet choreographed to Claudio Monteverdi’s ‘Vespers, 1610’. The season is completed with the RWB’s Professional Division’s impressive production of Spotlight, highlighting the talent of RWB’s future stars.

The more you subscribe to this excellent season, the more you save! Get a great rate on your RWB’s 2016-2017 Season and enjoy world-class ballet from the best seats in the house. Call the RWB Customer Service Office at 204.956.2792 to purchase.

Swing into Spring with Things Antiques and Gifts!

Visit the RWB Women’s committee while supporting a great cause on May 1st from 12:00 – 4:00 pm for Things’ open house. Many items from contemporary collectibles to antique furniture will be discounted throughout the shop. Proceeds from sales support the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Visit thingsantiquesandgifts.com for more information.

Explore ballet and more with the Winnipeg Culture Pass!

The Winnipeg Culture Pass is a new way to experience one of Canada’s cultural capitals! Purchase a pass booklet and you have access to two performances and two exhibits at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and other participating venues.

Each pass contains two performance coupons and two exhibit coupons. Redeem the coupons for tickets at the box office and ticket windows of participating organizations. World-class concerts and performances every weekend and exhibits open year-round at three iconic destinations. Visit winnipegculturepass.ca for more information.