Donor Spotlight Newsletter - July 2019

Jul 17 2019 | Posted in Donor Spotlight

Image of RWB Dancer Jaimi Deleau in costume as Glinda from The Wizard of Oz.The quote 'You are more capable than you know' by Glinda are displayed beside her on the image.


Thank you for your generous support in making the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s 79th season another great success! We are truly grateful to you for being part of our remarkable community of donors. Your support provides us the unique opportunity to engage, educate, and entertain audiences of all ages.

Looking back on our season, one of the many highlights was the Canadian Premiere of Septime Webre’s The Wizard of Oz. This energetic and joyful production was received with overwhelming positivity by one of our largest audiences in years. I would like to gratefully recognize BMO Bank of Montreal & The Asper Foundation for their support of this production, with a special thank you to the Estate of Barbara Cook. Barbara had a vision to leave the RWB a generous gift, earmarked for new productions, and her legacy will live on each time The Wizard of Oz is performed. You can learn more of Barbara’s story later in this Spotlight. The Wizard of Oz was a monumental undertaking, requiring the efforts of the entire organization - from our dancers to our production team, and from our wardrobe department to you, our donors.

Your donation makes a real impact in helping our student dancers reach new heights. Thanks to your support, our School trained and sent one of our shining star students, Bridget Lee, to receive top marks at the Youth American Grand Prix, a prestigious international dance competition, and we’re proud to share Bridget’s story in the Your Donation in Action article.

Your support ensures the RWB continues to teach, create and perform outstanding ballet.

With gratitude and appreciation,

André Lewis,
Artistic Director & CEO


Each and every donation that we receive is vital, allowing us to present the highest standard of excellence in dance in Manitoba, across Canada, and around the world. By supporting world-class dance at the RWB, you become part of our family, sharing a passion that brings our dancers to the stage.



Bridget Lee and RWB Professional Division Student in a partnered dance pose.

RWB School student Bridget Lee receives top honours at the Youth American Grand Prix (YAGP) this April in New York City, earning her international praise and a spot at the famous Stuttgart Ballet in Germany.

RWB School Professional Division Teacher Training Program Director Johanne Gingras first discovered Bridget Lee at a YAGP competition in 2016. The following September, Bridget began training in the RWB School Professional Division Ballet Academic Program. She was quickly identified as one of the shining stars of the RWB School. Bridget later went on to receive the Prince Edward Award, the highest honour awarded by the RWB School Professional Division, in both 2017 and 2018.

Bridget’s journey came full circle, as this year she returned to YAGP to compete. Her repertoire included both contemporary and classical solos, and we are proud to report that Bridget received top marks in both. In fact, her combined overall score earned her a spot as one of the top 12 women’s finalists! Shortly after this incredible moment, the Artistic Director of the prestigious Stuttgart Ballet, Tamas Detrich, offered Bridget a job as an apprentice in their company.

Every year 12,000 dancers compete in the YAGP regional competitions, only a thousand of which make it to the Finals in New York City. There, the dancers spend 10 days in a whirlwind of master classes and scholarship auditions, culminating in a prestigious dance competition.


Members of our Patron’s Circle play a leading role in the vitality of the RWB. The Patron’s Circle program presents special recognition to Royal Winnipeg Ballet donors who give $1,250 or more each year. For more information on Patron’s Circle membership, please contact our Donor Relations Officer, Madison Harding.



Every year we’re thrilled to hold an exclusive and intimate evening with our valued Patron’s Circle donors. This year’s home event featured a unique glimpse into the making of The Wizard of Oz featuring a Q&A with our Artistic Director & CEO André Lewis and The Wizard of Oz Choreographer, Septime Webre. The event offered our donors a glimpse at the beautiful costumes for The Wizard of Oz, hand made by the RWB wardrobe team. Most importantly, the event creates a unique opportunity for our donors to meet and have a personal one-on-one interaction with our talented dancers. A special thanks to Catherine Filmon, RWB board member, for opening her home to our valued donors.


Our Patron’s Circle members were invited to join the RWB for a post- show reception in celebration of the Canadian Premiere of The Wizard of Oz. This new ballet was a major undertaking for the RWB and we were so glad to celebrate its success with our Patron’s Circle donors. This would not have been possible without your generous support- thank you and cheers to Oz!


Photo of RWB Dancers Dmitri Dovgoselets and Sophia Lee in a dance pose, standing in a field in front of other RWB Dancers.

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s 80th season begins with Ballet in the Park, a treasured tradition that spans over four decades. Each night, for three nights at Assiniboine Park’s Lyric Theatre, this free, family-friendly performance proves to be a wonderful way to experience ballet under the prairie sky.

As a valued member of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s Patron’s Circle, we would like to invite you and a guest to join us in the VIP seating area at Ballet in the Park. Enjoy prime seating, cool refreshments, and the best view in the park! Please RSVP to Evan Maydaniuk, Stewardship Officer, to reserve your place. Please let us know which day you’ll be attending.

Showtimes: 7:30 PM at the Assiniboine Park’s Lyric Theatre - Wednesday July 24th | Thursday July 25th | Friday July 26th



The Society was established in honour of RWB Founders Gweneth Lloyd and Betty Farrally and recognizes those who have left the RWB a legacy gift as part of their estate plans. Legacy gifts to the Lloyd and Farrally Society ensure that the RWB continues to play a leading role in Canadian arts and culture by allowing us to create world-class ballet. Every legacy gift, big or small, makes the future of dance and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet possible.

Have you included the RWB in your estate plans? Please let us know. For more details, please contact our Donor Relations Officer, Madison Harding.



Side by side photos of Barbara Cook. On the left is a more recent photo of Barbara Cook, sitting in a patterned shirt at a table with flowers. The photo on the right is a black and white older photo of Barbara Cook in a dance photo holding a group of balloons.

Every year for many years, Reverend Barbara Cook made a modest donation to the RWB. Before she passed away in October 2017, Barbara included the Royal Winnipeg Ballet in her will. Today, this estate gift has made it possible for the RWB to present The Wizard of Oz. Her bequest is the ultimate expression of support and a capstone to a life lived fully and generously. Barbara’s bequest, and others like her, ensures that the RWB continues to grow and reach even greater heights of artistic excellence.

Barbara’s Story
Born in Hamilton and raised in Toronto, Barbara’s love of dance began when she first took lessons at the young age of three. Still only a girl of six, Barbara stepped in to the studio of none other than Boris Volkoff, known to some as the “father of Canadian ballet”, for the first time.

For the next ten years, Barbara trained with Volkoff and his wife, Janet Baldwin. In 1946, Barbara made her professional debut dancing with the Volkoff Ballet. With both the Volkoff and Baldwin Ballets, Barbara performed in all six Canadian Ballet Festivals from 1948-1954.

Founded by the RWB, the Festivals were designed to broaden the exposure of dance in Canada, giving rise to a professional field for Canadian dancers. Ultimately, Barbara and her fellow dancers became a pioneering generation who laid the foundation for the professionalization of ballet in Canada.

Following her career on stage, Barbara became a Royal Academy of Dancing (RAD) instructor and examiner. Barbara taught in various ballet schools and communities in Ontario and Alberta before opening her own ballet school in Sudbury.

Barbara retired from teaching dance in the 1980’s and found her second calling as an ordained United Church Minister. Throughout her ministry, Barbara’s love of dance was always present in her work, choreographing liturgical dances for her congregations in Hartney, Lauder, Dand, and Winnipeg, MB.

Eventually, Barbara’s ministry brought her to Manitoba. In retirement, Barbara never forgot her roots in ballet, assisting her dance colleagues in the archives at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.