July Company Spotlight

Jul 29 2016 | Posted in Spotlight


Dance Intensive

RWB Apprentice Dancers Saeka Shirai and Yue Shi; Photo Credit Victor Viktorov

Please join us in congratulating RWB Company dancers Saeka Shirai and Yue Shi who are bringing home medals from the prestigious worldwide competition held in Varna, Bulgaria. They are each taking home a Silver Medal in the Female and Male Senior Categories from Varna’s International Ballet Competition. Saeka Shirai and Yue Shi have not only won on behalf of Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Winnipeg, but also for Canada as the only Canadian finalists at this international competition.

Shirai and Shi’s award winning performances included excerpts from Don Quixote, La Fille Mal Gardée and Diana and Acteon. They also performed Blushing, choreographed by Peter Quanz and Numa, choreographed by RWB soloist Yosuke Mino. In addition to winning the Silver Medals in the Senior Category, Yue Shi received a special invitation to perform in a full length ballet production in a central role with Sofia National Opera and Ballet in Sofia, Bulgaria during their 2016/17 Season.

The International Ballet Competition in Varna is the most prestigious ballet competition in the world. Since its beginning in 1964, the IBC has hosted over 2,500 dancers from 40 countries. In 1980, RWB dancers Evelyn Hart (gold medal winner and recipient of exceptional artistic achievement) and David Peregrine (bronze medal winner) competed in Varna with great success.

The two young dancers threw themselves into extensive training in preparation for this international competition along with tireless effort and support from RWB artistic staff, choreographers and the rest of the RWB support team. The RWB would like to thank everyone who supported Shirai and Shi including the donors whose support helped the RWB team attend the competition.


Dance Intensive

RWB Company Dancers Photo: Bonnie Holmes

On July 23rd, the RWB hosted the 2016 Barre After Hours party at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet parkade rooftop at 380 Graham. The rain didn’t put a dampen on the festivities as guests enjoyed a night of dancing with DJ Skene Music and The Treble along with the jazz styling of big band leader Ron Paley on piano with vocalist Kristen Malbranck.

Party guests were served delicious hors d’oeuvres sponsored by Chef Wayne Aastrom & Pratts and enjoyed a complimentary glass of Villa Conchi Cava. They also had a chance to win tickets for two to Dracula and an entry to win a weekend lease for a Land Rover (courtesy of Birchwood Automotive Group). The party didn’t stop there as an exclusive After Party was held at Rudy’s Eat and Drink and guests partied the night away with Royal Winnipeg Ballet Company Dancers.

Ballet In The Park kicks off this week!

Academic Program

Ballet In The Park Photo: RWB Archives

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet is excited to kick off another season with the summer favourite Ballet In The Park. This year, the RWB School Professional and Recreational dancers will again take to the Lyric Theatre stage for select performances over three nights of family fun.

This year’s Ballet in the Park will include a performance excerpt from everyone’s favourite Christmas show, Nutcracker. The RWB is combining Nutcracker with the popular summer promotion, Christmas in July. Until July 31st, ballet fans have the opportunity to join in the savings - adult tickets are just $50* for select Nutcracker performances, and children’s tickets only $25* using promo code NUTINJULY.

Ballet In The Park will also delight guests with excerpts from Val Caniparoli’s A Cinderella Story, an electric re-telling of everyone favourite fairytale. This unique take on a classic tale comes complete with vintage-inspired costumes and stunning choreography, melded with the music of Richard Rodgers, accompanied live by legendary Winnipeg bandleader Ron Paley.

We often say that Ballet in the Park is the perfect introduction to many that may be experiencing ballet for the first time,” shares André Lewis. “But to our audiences who return year after year, Ballet in the Park has become an annual summer activity. We are thrilled that we have become a summer tradition not just for Winnipeggers but for many who come in from out of town to see the show and experience everything that Winnipeg has to offer in the summer. We are extremely grateful for the annual support of Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries, our volunteers, our audiences and of course the lovely Assiniboine Park which gives us our unique outdoor setting.

Four Generations of Ballet Enthusiasts Enjoy Peter Pan Performance

Subscriber Spotlight

Long time RWB subscriber Shirley Diner with: Right to Left: Madelaine (granddaughter), Ruby (great granddaughter) and Barbara (daughter).

We caught up with Shirley, Madelaine, Barbara and Ruby as they enjoyed Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s production of Peter Pan at the Centennial Concert Hall this past spring. Shirley has been a patron of Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet for over 50 years! We are extremely happy that RWB can be a part of their special family tradition!

Last Chance For Christmas In July Tickets!

Christmas In July

You only have until Sunday, July 31 to purchase specially priced tickets to Nutcracker this December! Get your tickets for only $50 plus fees and taxes by using the promo code NUTINJULY. Tickets are available HERE!

*Discount applies to sections B,C,D only during Dec 22, 23 and 24 performances. Cannot be combined with any other offer. Tickets are non-refundable and cannot be exchanged for other dates.

RWB Ballet Master Tara Birtwhistle on Preparing for a New Season as a Dancer


RWB Company Dancers; Photo Credit Aleli Estrada

Summer time at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet means a well-deserved break for its company dancers. Like anyone returning to their commitments after a break, it can be challenging to get back into the swing of things. RWB Ballet Master and former principle dancer Tara Birtwhistle shares her insight on what it’s like returning to the tough routine of a professional ballerina.

What is it like for the dancers, coming back from their break?
“It can be very exciting for the dancers to come back, but it can be very daunting.”
Diving head-first into season preparations, dancers go directly into a six hour rehearsal day – which doesn’t include their morning ballet class. Taking a break over the summer is crucial for the dancer’s bodies, which have endured much over the last season.
“The first week is always an array of liniments, Advil, bandages and soreness. The women need to get their feet used to their pointe shoes again, which always means lots of blisters and bruised toenails. The men have to get the small muscles ready for lifting and big jumps.”

What is the most exciting part of returning?
For Tara, new repertoire is the most enticing part of returning to the ballet. “It is the excitement of the unknown. It’s the hope of getting to learn a new part, or re-visiting a role a dancer is working on.”

How do dancers take on the challenge of getting back into shape for the new season?
“They need to go slow in regaining their strength, using the daily class to get back to basic positions and the demands on their body. It is a fine balance, because if the progress of getting back in shape is too slow they lose momentum. However, it can be a fun process - we often see a push up challenge going on amongst the men, maybe a plank competition in another corner, piles of pointe shoes being sewn by the women, and lots of laughing as the dancers get back on their proverbial bike.”

What can keep a dancer motivated throughout the season?
“New repertoire can be very motivating, particularly if a new work is part of the season. It’s the inspiration of working with a new choreographer and learning a new style. Sometimes an upcoming tour can be motivating as well - the dancers get to experience the world while doing what they love.”