April RWB Spotlight

Apr 25 2018 | Posted in Spotlight

Photo of RWB Dancers JoAnn Sundermeier and Liang Xing

RWB’S May Programme is a Feast for the Senses

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet closes its season of mainstage shows with unforgettable classics: Mauricio Wainrot’s Carmina Burana and George Balanchine’s Serenade, along with the world premiere of Larouche’s For Bye and About. This tour-de-force programme takes place at the Centennial Concert Hall from May 2-6 and promises to envelope the audience with a myriad of emotions.

Mauricio Wainrot choreographed Carmina Burana for the Royal Ballet of Flanders in 1998 to composer Carl Orff’s well-known music of the same name. This classic score, which has been featured in movies such as Excalibur and Oliver Stone’s rock biography, The Doors, will be performed by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, accompanied by the University of Manitoba Singers, Winnipeg Boys Choir and three soloists: Adam Sperry (Tenor), Ben Erickson (Baritone), and Sydney Clarke (Soprano). Last performed in Winnipeg by the RWB in 2012, this is Wainrot’s first ballet to have entered the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s repertoire.

The Canadian premiere of Carmina Burana in 2002 set a record for the most attended mixed-repertoire performance in over a decade. The Winnipeg Free Press called the production, “…a boiling cauldron of choreography…A rousing standing ovation at the end of this 55-minute spectacular was well earned.”

Carmina Burana is a complete sensory experience- it will give you goosebumps,” says RWB Ballet Master and former Principal dancer Tara Birtwhistle. “As a dancer, being on stage with the whole Company, waiting for the curtain to rise, I could almost feel everyone’s heartbeat. When the first notes came from the orchestra pit, it was as if the music was surrounding me…I felt like I ready to fly.”

Mauricio Wainrot, who will be working with the RWB in Winnipeg from April 24 to May 2, states “My ballet, commissioned by the Royal Ballet of Flanders in Belgium in 1998, is an abstract ballet. I didn’t want to follow the story line with lyrics and music used as a whole. The work is cyclic and it speaks about community rites and the joy of life.”

Serenade, set to Tchaikovsky’s ‘Serenade in C Major for String Orchestra’, is a true testament of Balanchine’s iconic style. The Ottawa Citizen cites Serenade as “…a riveting combination of eerie shaping, tangled mournfulness and creative patterning.”

Ensuring the legacy of Balanchine’s creative integrity is Joysanne Sidimus, an authorized répétiteur from the Balanchine Trust who has been working on Serenade with the Company on-and-off since March.

Running at just under 20 minutes, RWB School alumnus and former RWB Company dancer Philippe Larouche makes his choreography talent known in For Bye and About, a captivating piece drawing on the fervor of the RWB’s identity.

Pre and Post Performance Events

Pre-show Chats: Join us 30 minutes prior to each performance at the Centennial Concert Hall for a chat between RWB artistic staff and local media. Admission is free with show ticket.

Backstage Tour: Join RWB Production Stage Manager Ingrid Kottke for an intimate look at the exciting world of dance behind the scenes on Thursday, May 3, Friday, May 4, and Saturday, May 5 following the performance. Tickets to the tour are free, but limited, and available at intermission.

Meet the Dancers: RWB dancers will be available for photos and to sign autographs on Thursday, May 3 and Sunday, May 6 immediately following the performance.

Tickets for Carmina Burana, Serenade, For Bye and About start as low as $30 plus taxes and fees, and can be purchased online at www.rwb.org, in person through the RWB Customer Service Office at 380 Graham Avenue or by calling 204-956-2792 or toll free 1-800-667-4792. Groups of ten or more should contact the RWB Customer Service Office for information on group discounts.

Please note that the RWB does not sell tickets through any third-party websites.

Sharing Dance

Be a part of a nation-wide celebration of dance!

Registration is now open for Sharing Dance Day! Sharing Dance Day is FREE and takes place the morning of Friday, June 1 at the Axworthy Health and RecPlex (350 Spence Street).

Presented by Shaw Communications and funded in part by the Government of Canada, Sharing Dance Day is a public celebration of dance in Canada with a host of live performances leading up to June 1 when participants share this year’s choreography, which is based on the theme of environmental stewardship.

“This year’s routine really is a journey,” says RWB School Faculty and Sharing Dance Facilitator Lisa Brooks. “There is a definite sense of correlation between the music, the moves, and the dancers themselves. Because the theme is all centered around the environment, we go on a journey of acting, realizing the consequences and impact we have (or that our environment has on us), and trying to come to terms with it and act harmoniously.”

Sharing Dance classes have been taking place from 6:40 PM – 7:40 PM at the RWB (380 Graham Ave) every Tuesday since January 30th and will continue until May 29th. Classes are free and are for participants aged 6 and older. Registration is available on-site.

Classes begin with a group check-in followed by a warmup to wake everyone’s joints up and to move together. In the first part of the Sharing Dance classes, Lisa tries to “foster the appreciation and understanding of movement composition.” Lisa starts “to incorporate some of the movements from the set choreography and discuss what the routine is all about.”

Interested in registering for Sharing Dance Day? Please click here.

Click here to watch the video from last year’s Sharing Dance Day.

More on Sharing Dance:

Sharing Dance is an initiative used to motivate Canadians of all ages to participate in FREE, healthy, fun and creative dance activities. We are excited about the opportunity to introduce dance to a community that might not otherwise have had the chance to participate and work together to make dance accessible to all Canadians! Learn the awesome annual routine, perform it in your community, and fundraise along the way! It is 100% free to participate and 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 a FREE, quality dance program to those that need it most.


Coppélia comes to life for RWB School Professional Division’s Spotlight Production

A toymaker, doll, and an admirer intertwine in Coppélia, the light-hearted, endearing ballet that is brought to life for Royal Winnipeg Ballet (RWB) School Professional Division’s Spotlight. Running from May 24-26 at the John Hirsch Mainstage of the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, Spotlight features the entire student body and is the culmination of the tireless work young dancers put in each year.

This full-length ballet has time and time again been given the distinction of “classical ballet’s greatest comedy”. Coppélia is based on a story by German author E.T.A. Hoffman, and was first presented at the Théatre de l’Opéra in Paris on May 25, 1870 with music by Leo Delibés. Originally choreographed by the legendary Arthur Saint-Léon, the version presented in Spotlight has been staged by the artistic staff of the RWB School Professional Division. This performance will showcase the talent and skills mastered by Professional Division students.

Set in a small European town from centuries past, Coppélia is the fanciful tale of soon-to-be wed Franz who falls in love with Coppélia, an irresistible young girl who, unknown to him, is a life-sized dancing doll created by the nefarious inventor, Doctor Coppélius. Swanilda, Franz’s wife-to-be, becomes increasingly jealous of this budding love-affair between Coppélia and her lover. One night as, Doctor Coppélius leaves his home, Swanilda and her friends sneak into his mysterious workshop to speak to Coppélia. Just as they discover the shocking truth about Coppélia, they are forced to flee the scene as Doctor Coppélius returns, enraged to find intruders in his home. Swanilda however does not manage to escape and resorts to dressing up as Coppélia to both dupe Dr. Coppélius into thinking his doll has come to life and to win over the heart of her beloved Franz.

The real heroine of this lively, classical ballet, is not the compliant Coppélia, but the feisty Swanhilda. Vexed by her fiancé’s wandering eye, Swanhilda quickly takes control of the plot, outwitting both Dr. Coppélius and her fickle fiancé. Comic chaos ensues! Though it first premiered well over a century ago, it has been argued that this comedy of mistaken identity is the first “feminist” ballet. A ballet that eventually became the most-performed ballet at the Paris Opera Ballet, but never performed in full by the RWB Company!

Tickets for Spotlight are $25-30, plus taxes and fees, and can be purchased online at rwb.org, in person through the RWB Customer Service Office at 380 Graham Avenue or by calling 204.956.2792 or toll free 1.800.667.4792.


RWB’s Dracula sinks teeth into nation’s capital

From April 12-14, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet performed Mark Godden’s hit true-to-tale Dracula to a sold-out audience at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.

Check out what our Ottawa fans had to say:

•“I saw the RWB Dracula in Vancouver several years ago and my memory of it is indelible. Truly sublime.” -@gisele.m.baxter
•“Simply beautiful, breath taking, stunning! Thank you.” -@jturqc
•“Great show! I was at the dress rehearsal this afternoon! Killed it!” -@ensign_poo
•“I’ve watched every show! Incredible! Bravo to all of the dancers.” -@ballerina_mama

•“Amazing performance. Beautiful and haunting. Loved it. #balletfan #fridaythe13th” -@lizrouinhardy
•“Last evening’s sky set the perfect atmospheric mood for the @RWBallet’s fantastic performance of Dracula at the @CanadasNAC. #Twilight last evening in #Ottawa #Sunset” -@NancyFromCanada
•“Box seats at @NACOrchCNA waiting for @RWBallet to perform Dracula; this will be beautiful #ballet #NAC #boxseats #ottawa” -@heLENSphotos
•“My version of cheering for the home team. Watching @RWBallet perform Dracula. #ballet #winnipeg #GoRWBGo” -@lgayowski
•“Dynamite production! Ottawa is so lucky to have the @RWBallet performing Dracula @CanadasNAC!” -@BrianMCarroll

• “Rife with drama, it’s also one of the most popular pieces in the Royal Winnipeg’s repertoire, a surefire sellout whenever it’s staged.” –Ottawa Citizen

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet will return to the National Arts Centre to perform James Kudelka’s Vespers from November 1-3, 2018.

Green Room

Greenroom: The Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Balanchine

Royal Winnipeg Ballet dancers share what their favourite Balanchine ballet is and what they love about his cherished creation, Serenade.

Sophia Lee - Principal Dancer
What is your favourite ballet by George Balanchine and why?

My favourite ballet by George Balanchine is Serenade. It is so lyrical, full of beautiful lines and patterns, and of course extremely musical. As dancers we must pay close attention to detail in both movement and music while making it all look effortless.

Jo-Ann Sundermeier - Principal Dancer
What do you like best about Serenade?

When you watch Serenade, you can see how George Balanchine visually expresses the music with his choreography. It’s a beautiful relationship between the music and the dance that makes me love this ballet, as well as his other masterpieces.

Yayoi Ban - Soloist
What is your favourite ballet by George Balanchine and why?

Serenade. I am absolutely in love with the music. Also, the music and the movement matches perfectly.

Alanna McAdie - Soloist
What is your favourite ballet by George Balanchine and why?

It’s too hard to choose a favourite out of Balanchine’s works. I really enjoy all of his ballet’s (that I have seen). Western Symphony and Union Jack seem like they would be a blast to perform.

Yosuke Mino - Soloist
What is your favourite ballet by George Balanchine and why?

Tarantella. It’s playful and technical.

Josh Reynolds - Soloist
What is your favourite ballet by George Balanchine and why?

My favourite Balanchine ballet is Apollo. It is the most beautiful and inspirational work I’ve ever performed.

Katie Bonnell - Corps de Ballet
What is your favourite ballet by George Balanchine and why?
Serenade is one of the most iconic ballets of the 21st century and I’m so honored to have the opportunity to dance it.

Jaimi Deleau - Corps de Ballet
What is your favourite ballet by George Balanchine and why?
I love dancing Serenade because there is so much power and technicality required to execute the movement. Paired with the gorgeous music, it is a true joy to dance!

Yoshiko Kamikusa - Corps de Ballet
What do you like best about Serenade?
I love the music for Serenade…just hearing it inspires you to move. The intricate formations of the ensemble are also really beautiful, further complemented by the flowing long skirts worn by all the girls.

Stephan Possin - Corps de Ballet What is your favourite ballet by George Balanchine and why?
Concerto Borocco, the first Balanchine ballet I’ve ever performed. Each step of this ballet is married perfectly with each note of the entrancing score. Balanchine’s ingenious choreography and beautifully composed movements make Concerto Barocco one of my favourites. A few of my other Balanchine favourites include The Four Temperaments, Rubies, Agon, Square Dance, and Serenade.