Feb 27 2018 | Posted in Spotlight

The Sleeping Beauty returns to enchant audiences of all ages

Image of Jo-Ann Sundermeier and Dmitri Dovgoselets- Photo by Bonnie Holmes

Audiences are able to relive the magic of their favourite childhood fairytale when the Royal Winnipeg Ballet (RWB)’s production of The Sleeping Beauty returns February 28 – March 4 at the Centennial Concert Hall.

A timeless fairytale that takes you on a journey to an enchanted kingdom where good triumphs over evil through a single kiss, The Sleeping Beauty is a fantasy come to life with a cast of familiar storybook characters including Princess Aurora, Prince Désiré, the Lilac Fairy, Puss in Boots, Little Red Riding Hood, and the Wolf.

The work has become one of RWB’s most revered classical ballets and its lavish sets, lyrically poignant melodies, and beautiful costumes have been cherished by audiences of all ages since it first premiered in Winnipeg.

“Our Season of Storytelling continues with The Sleeping Beauty, a timeless gem in the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s classical repertoire,” said RWB Artistic Director André Lewis. “Featuring a glorious score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and the masterful choreography by Marius Petipa, this ballet is pure pleasure for both audiences and dancers alike.”

The Sleeping Beauty’s romantic costumes, most notably the colourful tutu’s worn by the six fairies, were originally created by costume designer Shannon Lovelace and outgoing RWB Wardrobe Director Anne Armit. The Sleeping Beauty’s extravagant sets and fairytale scenery were created by Michael Eagan, and lighting was created by Michael J. Whitfield. The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (WSO) will be accompanying all the performances lead by WSO Conductor Earl Stafford.

The Sleeping Beauty Events

Access Pointe Pre-show Reception at the Centennial Concert Hall
Enjoy a special Q & A session with RWB Company dancer Stephan Azulay (Corps de Ballet) and enter to win a spectacular wine package from Poplar Grove Winery, prizes from the RWB, and more. Event starts at 5:30 pm, is free, and open to Access Pointe members only; membership sign-up is available onsite. Please RSVP to hkrahn@rwb.org.

Pre-show Chats
Join us thirty minutes prior to each performance at the Centennial Concert Hall for a chat between RWB artistic staff and local media. Admission is free with The Sleeping Beauty 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, March 1, Friday, March 2, and Saturday, March 3 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 Wednesday, Feb. 28 and Friday, March 1 immediately following the performance.

Tickets for The Sleeping Beauty start as low as $30.00 for adults and $25.00 for children, 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 more information on group discounts.
Please note that the RWB does not sell tickets through any third-party websites.

RWB School Recreational Division students share the stage with Mini Pop Kids

Photo of RWB RD Students with Mini Pop Kids

February 17th was an unforgettable day for 22 RWB School Recreational Division students. These talented students had the opportunity to dance alongside the chart-topping Mini Pop Kids sensation during their Winnipeg performance at the Burton Cummings Theatre.

Prior to the performance, the students learned choreography via YouTube links given by the Mini Pop Kids choreographer. RWB School Recreational Division Principal Nicole Kepp staged the routine based on the perimeters and guidelines provided by the choreographer.

Our students, who come from a combination of classes such as Pre-Intensive, Junior Jazz Dance Ensemble, Junior Tap Dance Ensemble, Intermediate Jazz Dance Ensemble, and Intermediate Musical Theatre Dance Ensemble performed as back-up dancers in two songs during Act 1 of the show.

After performing, our students were invited to watch the second act of the concert from the balcony.

Hats-off to First Steps 2018

Group photo of First Steps Award Winners and Guest Judges

Thank you to all who attend this year’s First Steps performances. As always, we were blown away by the creativity and dedication of the participating Royal Winnipeg Ballet Professional Division students.

While it was hard to name just one winner for each award, it had to be done! Below are the winners for First Steps 2018—three cheers and congratulations to all!

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet School Award
Memories Forgotten by Meghan Sangster

Reflections by Ethan Ribeiro

Freedom of Cruelty by Cameron Fraser-Monroe

Memories Forgotten by Meghan Sangster

Honourable Mention
Despondence by Alexander Castro

Jacqueline Web Award for Classical Choreography
Memories Forgotten by Meghan Sangster

The People’s Choice
Freedom of Cruelty by Cameron Fraser-Monroe

The Doreen Macdonald Scholarship
A Carnival Waltz After Dark by Sarah Snider

The Paddy Stone Scholarship
Freedom of Cruelty by Cameron Fraser-Monroe

Everyone involved can take a well-deserved bow until next year!

RWB dancers share what they like best about classical ballets

Sarah Davey and RWB Company Dancers; Photo Courtesy of RWB Archives

As opening night of The Sleeping Beauty draws nearer, RWB Company dancers reflect on their favourite aspects about dancing in classical ballets.

Jo-Ann Sundermeier

I really love the attention to details of technique, and the layer of artistry to bring out the pure essence of the classical ballet.

Sophia Lee

Classical ballets are always a challenge to work on as dancers, which is also the reason why we love them. It also feels incredible to be carrying on the tradition that has existed and passed down for numerous years.

Alanna McAdie

Each classical ballet has its own individual style and it takes a lot of studying to understand that style and interpret it. There are always more layers to learn and we can never be perfect- I like that constant study of the art.

Sarah Davey
Second Soloist

My favourite part about classical ballet is the music. We are so lucky to have an amazing orchestra to dance to.

Elizabeth Lamont
Second Soloist

My favourite aspect about a classical ballet is the history of the choreography and the music, dating back over a hundred years old. Many generations of dancers have had their technique and artistry tested by these roles and it’s inspiring to do it as well.

Katie Bonnell
Corps de Ballet

It’s always really satisfying to do corps work in a full-length classical ballet. You must be so in sync with so many other women and going from dancing full-out to standing completely still is extremely challenging.

Jaimi Deleau
Corps de Ballet

Dancing classical ballets is always fun because I love using classic technique, as well as exploring the unique artistry of each ballet.

Stephan Azulay
Corps de Ballet

My favourite aspect of classical ballets is character development.

Stephan Possin
Corps de Ballet

I like being able to watch the interpretation of the story through different artist’s lenses.

Victoria Jenkins

That the steps have been passed down for generations and we get to keep them alive by performing them.

Liam Saito

I really enjoy the technical challenge, as well as the music, symmetry, and structure which combine to create a truly classical ballet.

From the RWB studios to Switzerland: two students recount their first journey to Prix de Lausanne

RWB School Professional Division student Michel in centre; Photo courtesy of Prix de Lausanne

This February two of our senior-level Professional Division students traveled to Switzerland to take part in Prix de Lausanne’s brand-new choreography project.

Michel and Bridget were among 50 dancers from around the world who had the opportunity to work with the internationally-renowned choreographer Goyo Montero to produce a piece that was performed during the finals of the Prix.

RWB PR Coordinator Natasha Havrilenko had the chance to chat with Michel and Bridget to learn more about their experience.

Natasha: What was your typical day like at Prix de Lausanne (PDL)?

Michel: “Every morning, we would all meet at 6:45 AM in the lobby of the hotel where we were staying. All 50 of us would then eat breakfast together at a nearby café, after which we took a bus to the theater where we had an hour and forty-five-minute ballet class starting at 8:30 AM. We stayed at the theater for the rest of the day to learn and rehearse the partner schools’ choreographic program, a ten minute piece titled “Pulse”. We rehearsed this piece for about six hours each day and, at the end of our week, we performed it at the Prix de Lausanne finals.”

Bridget: “We ate lunch and dinner at the theater between rehearsals, which continued into the late evening. Some days we ended with yoga cool down classes before heading back to our hotel.”

Natasha: What did you learn at PDL?

Michel: “The Partner Schools’ Choreographic program gave me insight into what it is like to learn a completely new piece from a choreographer, an experience that I have not had until PDL. It also gave me insight into the entire process of working with a choreographer and how both dancer and choreographer can feed off each other creatively to create something the whole group is proud of. In total, there were 50 dancers from around the world working together on one piece and so, having worked with such a large group, I learned the importance of communication and awareness when working on a piece like Pulse. Pulse was not individually challenging as a piece but its strength lay in the unison and the connectedness of all its dancers, the same with a lot of corps de ballet work.”

Bridget: “I learned a lot from watching the other dancers in the Partner School Choreographic Project during class and rehearsals. It was interesting to see the variety of styles represented and how other dancers approached the work. Second, I learned how to use my energy effectively during very long days of rehearsal, which is a skill that will come in handy in a professional career. These were just a few of the many things I learned from this experience.”

Natasha: How will this experience help you in your professional dance career?

Michel: “This experience has helped me tremendously. It has not only given me an opportunity to work with a world-renowned choreographer but also to work with 50 of the best future dance professionals in the world. In doing so, I made many friends and connections that I will keep during my whole career.”

Bridget: “This experience exposed me to new ways of movement in contemporary and ballet. It also showed me what life in a professional company might be like, having to pick up choreography quickly.”

Natasha: What was your favourite part of PDL?

Michel: “The part I enjoyed the most about the whole experience was the sense of community. The dance world is small and I’m certain I will meet many of the friends I made at PDL again in the future.”

Bridget: “My favourite part of the choreographic project was the dress rehearsal and final performance day. It was really exciting to see the piece come together with the lighting, costumes, and staging, after a week of preparation. I also enjoyed the overall environment and seeing the “behind the scenes” of the competition that I watched on livestream in previous years.
It was such an amazing week and I would like to thank the RWB for this opportunity.”

More about the PDL choreographic project here.