May 08 2019 | Posted in Press Releases

RWB School blends seven diverse pieces of repertoire in year-end performance

From marshmallows to tennis balls, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet (RWB) School Professional Division’s year-end production Spotlight is unlike anything audiences have seen before. Running from May 23-25 at the John Hirsch Mainstage of the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, Spotlight features nearly 100 student performers over 90 minutes performing excerpts from beloved classical story ballets and original works. This brilliant group of young dancers will capture the audience’s hearts with their dedication, talent, and spirit.

Mark Godden’s The Marshmallow Test debuted in November and won audiences over with its jovial playfulness. Godden, a graduate of the Professional Division and critically-acclaimed artist, created this piece with the senior level RWB School Professional Division students over the month of July 2018 while he was guest teaching.​

The Marshmallow Test is an experiment conducted on young children to test delayed gratification. It’s also an old story: sacrifice now, in the present, for something better in the future,” says Godden. “The dance and movement ideas for this ballet spring forth from the body’s dilemma of wanting something now while the mind works overtime to convince the body to wait. It is an internal tug-of-war; but, it’s also a chance to sublimate the moment.”​

RWB School Artistic Faculty Claire Marshall and Winnipeg Contemporary Dancers’ Artistic Director Jolene Bailie have each created engaging contemporary pieces for Spotlight; Bailie’s “honors each individual’s uniqueness and celebrates [the students’] presence.” RWB School graduate Jera Wolfe, who recently captivated Winnipeg with the world premiere of Bare during Ballet & the Band, will present a contemporary work created for the prestigious Prince Edward Award Scholarship recipient Bridget Lee, who was a recent finalist in the top 12 senior women’s solo category at the Youth American Grand Prix, and Logan Savard.​

The beauty of classical ballet is performed through a breathtaking scene of a flower garden coming to life in an excerpt of Marius Petipa’s Le Corsaire. Character dance is featured through highlights of the ballet Gayaneh, which was first performed by the Kirov Ballet during the Second World War evacuation. Shurale Children’s Dance will feature the youngest students in a charming peasant dance.​

“This year’s repertoire has been chosen and developed throughout the season to build a mixed program that features the versatility of every student in the RWB School Ballet Academic Program,” says RWB School Director Stéphane Léonard. “I am especially looking forward to Jera Wolfe’s contemporary duet for the upper level students and Jolene Bailie and Claire Marshall’s fun-filled, energizing pieces.”​

Spotlight has been made possible in part by the Government of Canada and the Manitoba Arts Council.​


Le Corsaire excerpts: Le Jardin Animé
Choreography: Marius Petipa
Music: Adolphe Adam

Shurale’s Children Dance
Choreography: Leonid Yakobson
Music: Farid Yarullin​

Gayaneh (highlights)
Choreography: Nina Alexsandrovna Anisimova
Music: Aram Khachatorian

Choreography: Jera Wolfe
Music: Impetus by Sebastian Plano​

Bien Joué’
Choreography: Claire Marshall
Music: Original composition by Mark Cameron​

Take Five
Choreography: Jolene Bailie
Music: Take Five and Blue Rondo à la Turk by Dave Brubeck​

The Marshmallow Test
Choreography: Mark Godden
Staging: Vanessa Léonard & Stéphane Léonard
Music: Franz Joseph Haydn​