En Pointe 02 - April 11
Cherished RWB Second Soloist Retires Earlier Than Anticipated
The unexpected cancellation of 80 Years – A Retrospective has effectively brought an end to the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s 80th season, and for Sarah Davey, the end of her career as a professional ballerina.
“It’s a weird way to retire, not to go out on my own terms,” says Sarah, who had announced her upcoming retirement during the 2019-2020 season. “It got taken away from me in a sense.”
Sarah Davey is a beloved Second Soloist with the RWB Company who joined the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School Professional Division as a 13-year old student. After graduating from the Professional Division in 2007, she joined the Aspirant Program, which she completed in 2009, before earning her position with the RWB Company. Sarah was then promoted to her current title in 2014.
Originally from Carlisle, Ontario, Sarah says she was drawn to the RWB. Already a proficient dancer when she came to Winnipeg, Sarah had been studying the art form since age 3. She was a naturally active child whose parents saw in her the potential to be a star. “My parents have been my biggest supports,” recalls Sarah, “they sacrificed a lot to have me here.”
Now a 16-year resident of Winnipeg, Sarah considers the RWB her home away from home. In Carlisle, Sarah was an only child, but her time with the RWB allowed her to develop lifelong friendships that she maintains today. “The girls I lived with in residence became my sisters. I’m so grateful for them.”
Sarah is also grateful to her teachers at the RWB School. Not only did they help to develop her abilities as a dancer and taught her how to take feedback, they were also her fans. Today, Sarah acknowledges, “Having danced in the same company where I went to school, I always felt like I had the support of the entire organization. It was great to have the artistic staff and teachers cheering you on throughout your career, and had I gone somewhere else it wouldn’t be the same.”
Shortly after graduating, Sarah was accepted to the RWB Company. Her first mainstage performance as an RWB Apprentice was Moulin Rouge® – The Ballet. Throughout her career, Sarah danced feature roles in many performances, including Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Dracula, Carmina Burana, Serenade, Four Seasons, A Cinderella Story, Giselle, The Wizard of Oz, The Sleeping Beauty, and The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude.
Sarah has always been wonderfully expressive on stage and her favourite roles have always been strong characters. She has fond memories of playing Lucy in Dracula, Dark Angel in Serenade, Myrta in Giselle, The Wicked Stepmother in Val Caniparoli’s A Cinderella Story, and recently, the Wicked Witch in Septime Webre’s The Wizard of Oz. “It’s fun to play the villain, they are my most favourite,” explains Sarah. “I love to explore the evil side.”
Additional highlights from Sarah’s lengthy career with the RWB include performing with the Company across the globe, including Europe, China, and Israel. Sarah also danced in Mark Godden’s As Above, So Below and Itzik Galili’s Hikarizato before an international audience at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games Cultural Olympiad.
Currently, Sarah is finishing a 4-year business degree through the University of Winnipeg, but her plan is to continue working on the administrative side of the RWB and hopes to pass on her knowledge of dance through teaching, so she can stay in the studio. “I don’t just want to walk away from dance or the RWB. I’ve received so much over the last 16 years and I am ready to give back and contribute what I can.”
When the coronavirus led to the cancellation of 80 Years – A Retrospective, Sarah was rightly upset. She was preparing for a role in all three performances when the dancers were sent home for their safety. Since then, Sarah has had time to reflect on the idea of the early retirement. “I realized my very first ballet with the company was Moulin Rouge® – The Ballet,” Sarah said wistfully. “Due to COVID-19, it was also the last ballet I performed. It’s a bookend, and it’s a positive for me. Maybe it was meant to be.”
The RWB thanks Sarah Davey for gracing our stage and we wish her the absolute best in the future.
RWB Second Soloist, Sarah Davey
Photo by Ian McCausland
Read her Company biography here