Dec 16 2014 | Posted in


In this edition of Connections, we are sharing highlights from Going Home Star – Truth and Reconciliation events and a look at our fundraising campaigns to build new costumes. We are also pleased to share the latest RWB School activities with some very special performance opportunities for our students. From everyone at the RWB, we extend to you our thanks for your support, best wishes for the holiday season and a happy new year!

Susan Fraser
RWB Director of Development


Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet legend Filbert is the star of the show when holiday favourite Nutcracker returns to the stage. Lately, Filbert has been a little lonely since he is the only bear in that big house. We thought he might benefit from some furry friends so we have added 13 new fresh faces straight from the North Pole. The new soft and cuddly polar bear costumes were designed by Paul Daigle and add a distinctly Manitoban touch to the ballet. You can help with the building of these soon-to-be iconic characters by donating to the Filbert’s Furry Friends campaign. “We are excited to introduce our new furry characters to the stage,” shares RWB Artistic Director André Lewis. “Nutcracker has become a holiday favourite and family tradition for many in our audience and we hope that our new bears find a place in their hearts.” Suggested donations start at $20 and those who sponsor a full costume ($2,000) will have their names sewn into the costume so that our Recreational Division dancers and future polar bear cubs may enjoy and appreciate their generosity for many years to come. You can help these sweet polar bears make their dancing debut by making a donation online by clicking here or by calling 204.957.3416.

Students in RWB’s Nutcracker, Victoria. Photo Credit: David Warburton.
Students in RWB’s Nutcracker, Victoria. Photo Credit: David Warburton.


The Tutus in Bloom campaign is off to an incredible start! Thank you to all our generous donors who have contributed to this campaign. So far, we have raised $24,150 enabling us to replace 12 tutus. There are only 16 more to go. The campaign will be running until Swan Lake hits the stage from March 4 to 8, 2015.

To make a donation to our Tutus in Bloom campaign, click here or call 204.957.3416.


During the run of Going Home Star – Truth and Reconciliation, the RWB Alumni Association hosted a number of visiting RWB Alumni for a reunion weekend, including a dinner at the Centennial Concert Hall prior to the Saturday night performance of the ballet.

After the performance, the Alumni collected on stage for a group photo and what a large, lovely group it was! Immediately after taking the photo, Alumni members were surprised by an exciting announcement. RWB Alumni Association President Marilyn Marshall presented RWB’s Executive Director, Jeff Herd, with a $20,000 cheque to go towards digitizing film and video in the RWB’s archives.

A heartfelt thank you goes out to all RWB Alumni who attended the reunion, and to the RWB Alumni Association for their generous donation.


There is always a special buzz in the air on opening night, especially when the RWB debuts a brand new work. However, the overwhelming response from the audience to Going Home Star – Truth and Reconciliation highlighted the incredible significance and emotion of this particular ballet. It was an extraordinary way to kick off our 75th Anniversary Season.

The season began with a sneak peek at Paul Daigle’s spectacular costuming for Going Home Star – Truth and Reconciliation at a Patron’s Circle event on September 11 at the home of PC Members Hugh and Jennifer Moncrieff. Choreographer Mark Godden was on hand to share with the guests his process and inspiration for this ballet. Thank you to Hugh and Jennifer Moncrieff for hosting this year’s event in their lovely home.

Donors had their first behind-the-scenes look at Mark Godden’s choreography during the Closed Working Rehearsal on September 17 in Studio 204. Everyone in attendance was excited to see how it would translate to the stage.

On Opening Night, Patron’s Circle donors had the opportunity to attend Dinner in the Wings on the Piano Nobile catered by Bergmann’s on Lombard. The guests enjoyed a three course dinner followed by a pre-show chat held on stage in the theatre. The chat was hosted by acclaimed author Joseph Boyden with The Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair, Dr. Marie Wilson, and Chief Wilton Littlechild.

Following the show, the RWB hosted a celebratory reception for donors, sponsors and staff. Guests had the opportunity to meet and mingle with many of the artists involved with the creation of the ballet including Mark Godden, Paul Daigle, Joseph Boyden, Tanya Tagaq, KC Adams, Christos Hatzis, and Steve Wood & the Northern Cree Singers.

RWB Company Members. Photo: Leif Norman.
RWB Company Members. Photo: Leif Norman.


RWB School Professional Division Aspirants performing here and abroad

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet School Professional Division’s Aspirants have been busy with several opportunities to perform both locally and internationally.

In mid-October, many of the Aspirants departed to China alongside the RWB Company to perform in Romeo + Juliet as part of RWB’s 2014 China Tour. The Aspirants performed in Shanghai and Guangzhou, marking the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s first return to Asia in a decade.

Additionally, the Aspirants have been a part of some exciting performances here at home. On October 24, five students performed a piece choreographed by former Aspirant Philippe-Alexandre Jacques in David Suzuki’s Blue Dot Tour at the Burton Cummings Theatre.

The piece is titled X Years, as in “indeterminate number of years”, explained Jacques – “until the performance on stage becomes our reality.”

“In the unfolding setting, clean water and air are rare occurrences. They are experienced for the first and possibly the last time by the young inhabitants of our future,” said Jacques of his choreography. Jacques explained that his choreography is related to Suzuki’s reason for touring Canada with his Blue Dot Tour: which is to raise awareness of the fact that Canadians do not legally have the right to clean water, air or clean food – and Suzuki’s desire to change this.

The Blue Dot Tour is Suzuki’s last national tour, and celebrates the capacity of Canadians to protect the people and places that they love.

RWB Aspirants performed alongside Canadian artists Tanya Tagaq, Sierra Noble and Fred Penner.

“I am thrilled to have choreographed for such an occasion, and to be a part of this tour. David Suzuki is an outstanding person, and I am glad to be able to contribute to his vision through my art form,” Jacques said.

In other RWB School Professional Division news, students and faculty welcomed RWB Alumni and international répétituer Anna Marie Holmes as guest teacher in Winnipeg to set La Bayadère: Kingdom of the Shades, on RWB School Professional Division students. The piece will be performed in May at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre.

If you wish to support the RWB School Professional Division in its endeavours, we encourage you to donate to the David Moroni School Endowment Fund. For more information or to donate, click here or contact Susan Fraser, Director of Development: or 204.957.3495.

RWB School Professional Division Aspirants with David Suzuki. Photo: Jane Puchniak.
RWB School Professional Division Aspirants with David Suzuki. Photo: Jane Puchniak.


Each fall, RWB School Professional Division students load up their gear and hit the road to perform Concert Hour Ballet in Winnipeg and communities across the prairies. This gives our young artists a glimpse into the life of a touring dancer. There are many people who work together to create the magic that appears in each performance. The students get the opportunity to wear these many hats during the tour, assisting with lighting and props, in addition to dancing.

Concert Hour Ballet held 12 shows in Winnipeg and 10 performances in other communities including Thunder Bay, ON and Beausejour, MB from November 17 to December 1. This tour not only gives our students the opportunity to perform, it allows students in smaller communities the chance to see dance for themselves.

“From classical ballet to hip hop, the seven dances will showcase the incredible diversity of what dance is today,” said RWB School Faculty member Bruce Monk. “It is a true joy to be able to coach students dancing to Tchaikovsky and Leonard Cohen in the same show.”

Concert Hour Ballet is made possible through the generous support of our sponsors and funders. The Winnipeg performances are sponsored by Investors Group and MTS Future First and supported by a grant In Memory of Peter D. Curry.

“MTS Future First is about helping Manitoba youth reach their potential, and Concert Hour Ballet is an excellent example of a program that does just that.” said Roslyn Dally, Manager Community Investment & Employee Volunteerism, MTS. “We are elated to support the next generation of ballet professionals while helping to introduce the art of ballet and contemporary dance to children and youth across Manitoba.”

The performance series is presented by RBC Emerging Artists Project. The RWB School also thanks the Manitoba Arts Council and Canadian Heritage for their generous support of our Concert Hour Ballet program.

RWB Professional Division students on Concert Hour Ballet tour. Photo: Bruce Monk.
RWB Professional Division students on Concert Hour Ballet tour. Photo: Bruce Monk.

Women’s Committee News:

Looking for a unique gift this holiday season? Don’t forget to check out the selection of vintage china, jewellery and so much more at Things, Antiques & Gifts. All proceeds go to the RWB.

Monday to Saturday
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
913 Corydon Avenue

To learn more about Things, click here.


December 20 - 28/2014

Ottawa Tour, The Handmaid’s Tale
January 22-24/2015

First Steps 25th Anniversary
February 7-14/2015

Swan Lake Closed Working Rehearsal
February 25/2015

Swan Lake Dinner in the Wings
March 4/2015

Swan Lake
March 4-8/2015

Diamond Gala
April 18/2015

La Bayadère: Kingdom of the Shades + Ballet Vignettes
May 21-23/2015


Director of Development

Individual Giving Manager

Corporate Partnerships Manager

Interim Development Coordinator

Development & Event Coordinator