June Company Spotlight

Jun 29 2017 | Posted in Spotlight

Your RWB Season Subscription Awaits!

RWB Company Dancer Dmitri Dovgoselets; Photo by Bonnie Holmes

The first Company show of the 17/18 season is only 3 months away! Don’t panic, it’s not too late to subscribe to our 2017/18 season.

Remember, the more you subscribe, the more you save. In the Prima subscription tier, subscribers attend five world-class ballets while saving up to 25%. In our Corps tier, subscribers see three ballets while saving up to 15%.

What will subscribers see this season? RWB’s season begins on September 27 in the world of goblins and courageous young heroes with revered choreographer Twyla Tharp’s The Princess and The Goblin.

The holidays are once again a time for traditional tales of adventure and enchantment when Nutcracker returns to the stage from December 21-30.

On February 2, RWB will present Canada’s Ballet Jörgen’s Anastasia for one night only.

The classical gem The Sleeping Beauty awakens our senses from February 28 – March 4; and in May, drama abounds with Carmina Burana and Balanchine’s Serenade.

The season will conclude with performances by RWB Aspirants and the dancers of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School Professional Division. The Company is extremely proud to present On The Edge and Spotlight as part of the 2017-18 season. These diverse showcases celebrate the remarkable talent of young artists from around the world.

Get the best seats at the best prices! If you are looking to renew your subscription, please call 204-956-2792 (toll free 1-800-667-4792) or by visiting our RWB Customer Service Office at 380 Graham Avenue.

For further information on subscriptions, please click here.

Groups of ten or more should contact the RWB Customer Service Office for more information on group discounts. Call today to save!

Standing Ovations Aren’t just for RWB Dancers!

Philippe-Alexandre Jacques and Arlene Minkhorst at the WAC Awards Ceremony

The 11th annual Winnipeg Arts Council Awards was presented on Thursday, June 8th at the Fort Garry Hotel. The Awards celebrate the artists, arts administrators, and patrons whose dedication makes Winnipeg a hub for cultural achievement.

A huge “congratulations” goes out to Arlene Minkhorst, RWB School Director,and Philippe-Alexandre Jacques, RWB School Artistic staff member, dancer, and choreographer who were nominated for two awards.

For the past four decades, Ms. Minkhorst has dedicated her life to sharing her knowledge, artistry and talent with generations of dancers and dance teachers in Manitoba and around the world. Through her drive and determination, Ms. Minkhorst has ensured that the RWB School, and Manitoba in turn, has remained an internationally recognized place to study professional and recreational dance. Ms. Minkhorst was nominated for the Investors Group Making a Difference Award, an award that celebrates the contribution of a Winnipeg artist or arts administrator to the growth and development of the arts in any discipline in Winnipeg.

Read more about Ms. Minkhorst here.

Mr. Jacques has dedicated his life to dance since the age of ten when he began training at Greta Leeming Studio of Dance in Ottawa. He studied tap, jazz, and ballet and received Advanced ADAPT Certifications in jazz and tap by the time he departed the school seven years later. After receiving recognition from both local and national dance competitions, he was accepted into the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School Professional Division at 17. After graduating from the Professional Division, Mr. Jacques continued his studies in the RWB School’s Post-Secondary Aspirant Program where he had the occasion to perform and tour internationally in many RWB Company productions. Working as a mentor for young choreographers is very important for Mr. Jacques. Upon graduation from the Aspirant Program, he began working with the RWB as artistic coordinator for the hugely popular First Steps Choreographic competition while continuing to dance and choreograph independently. The yearly production allows him to work with the aspiring young choreographers in the RWB School Professional Division, as well as to liaise with the members of the local arts community selected as adjudicators. Mr. Jacques is also responsible for coordinating the Manitoba implementation of the massively successful Sharing Dance Day.

Mr. Jacques was nominated for the RBC On The Rise Award, an award that recognizes the demonstrated promise of an emerging, professional Winnipeg artist in any discipline. This award is intended to help with professional development.

Read more about Mr. Jacques here.

Spotlight, that’s a Wrap!

RWB School PD Students in Reminisce; Photo by Stanislav Belyaevsky

Just like that, months of hard work and preparation wrapped up at the end of May during the RWB School Professional Division’s annual performance: Spotlight.

Audience members of this year’s Spotlight had the opportunity to see Reminiscence, a piece that explores the relationship between mature artists and much younger dancers as they teach and grow together in the art form, as well as excerpts from Marius Petipa’s Raymonda,and Mauricio Wainrot’s Carmina Burana.

Read what our audience had to say on social media:


  • “Awesome performance last night! These students were amazing!!!” –Judy Brandson Lange
  • “Sophie and Liam. Wonderful dancing together” –BA Reid
  • “Absolutely stunning! And once again, the best show we have seen all season! If a season ticket package could be created containing just performances featuring the PD students, we would buy it in a heartbeat!” –Tanya September
  • “The whole performance was delightful.” –Heather Grande
  • “Loved Reminisces” –Shelley Muir


  • “This piece was so beautiful. Exceptional work.” -@sherry_atkinson
  • “It was a wonderful show. A must see!” –kkellyl
  • “My daughter and I can’t stop talking about that performance. It was brilliant. Mesmerizing.” –tquinny
  • “An incredible performance! Amazing talent!” –bonnie_tricky_j
  • “It was an incredible show!” –ewaknits


  • “The Professional Division .@RWBallet did a stellar job in their performance tonight. Don’t miss them in “Spotlight”. #Winnipeg” -@sublimitywpg
  • “Happy Opening @rwballet for Spotlight tonight! Merde to everyone involved. Always a local fave! May 25 - 27 @mtcwinnipeg.” -@SIR_Winnipeg

Read what guest choreographer Jera Wolfe had to say on Reminiscence during his CBC interview here.

Sautés under the sun at Ballet In The Park!

RWB Company Dancers in Val Cipriana’s A Cinderella Story; Photo by Aleli Estrada

It’s time to come together for one of Winnipeg’s favourite summer activities! Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet invites everyone to Ballet In The Park at the Lyric Theatre stage at 7:30 pm nightly from July 26 - 28, 2017. Presented by Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries, Ballet In The Park is a great way to experience ballet. A tradition since the early 1970s, this FREE family–friendly summer tradition attracts more than 20,000 people annually from Winnipeg and beyond. Sitting on a lawn chair or blanket on the grass, this is a relaxed way to take in ballet with your family and friends. For many who have never seen ballet, this is a great introduction to the art form in a picturesque setting.

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet Company dancers will perform Lila York’s Celts, a crowd-pleaser from our 2016/17 season. The RWB School Professional Division students will be performing a pas de trois performance of The Fairy Doll and the Recreational Division students will be treating the audience to a Grease medley.

Bringing the whole family to Ballet In The Park? We have tons of pre-show activities planned to entertain your little ones (or those of you who are young at heart!) leading up to the performance. This year’s activities include:

  • Colouring
  • Face Painting
  • Contest to win a pair of tickets to the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s production of Twyla Tharp’s The Princess and The Goblin.

Come for the ballet, stay for the food! This year’s food trucks are:

  • GG Gelati
  • Island Fusion
  • Kyu Grill
  • Tia Maria’s Taqueria
  • Up South BBQ
  • Walleye Wagon

Cancellations due to inclement weather will be issued by local radio stations as well as on the RWB website at www.rwb.org. Patrons may also contact the RWB reception desk for cancellation information at (204) 956-0183.

RWB’s Barre After Hours: When the lights go down and the crowns come off!

RWB Company Dancers; Photo by Bonnie Holmes

Mix and mingle with RWB Company dancers offstage at the third annual Barre After Hours. Join us at 380 Graham Avenue on September 9th as we celebrate the art of dance with an event planned by RWB dancers specifically with you in mind! Barre After Hours features live music, signature cocktails, delicious appetizers, desserts, and much more.

With a limited number of tickets available, don’t miss your chance to get yours before they’re gone. Early Bird tickets are $35 and go on sale July 3rd, 2017. Regular tickets are $40 and go on sale August 1st, 2017. Attendees must be at least 18 years old to attend.

Follow Barre After Hours on Instagram: @rwbbarreafterhours and stay in-the-know of the event on Facebook by clicking “attending” on the Facebook event.

RWB Welcomes Four Company Dancers and Promotes Five for Upcoming Season

RWB Company Dancer Alanna McAdie Photo by Réjean Brandt Photography

RWB’s new roster features Alanna McAdie’s promotion from Second Soloist to Soloist, Liam Caines’ promotion from Corps de Ballet to Second Soloist, and Jesse Petrie’s promotion from Apprentice to Corps de Ballet. Halfway through the 2016/17 season, Yue Shi and Saeka Shirai advanced from Apprentice to Corps de Ballet.

“I am very excited to be returning to the RWB for the 2017-18 season as a Second Soloist,” states Liam Caines, RWB Company dancer. “Having danced with this Company for 10 seasons, it has been a goal of mine for a number of years to have this opportunity. I look forward to taking on the responsibility and future challenges this will provide me.”

Joining the RWB Company is Australian-born Stephan Azulay who most recently danced with the Nevada Ballet Theatre and Peter Lancksweerdt, who joins us from the Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada. Both Azulay and Lancksweerdt will take Corps de Ballet positions.

“These promotions will further highlight our dancers’ talent as they take on more challenging roles and move up within the Company,” states André Lewis, RWB’s Executive Artistic Director. “I am thrilled to showcase RWB’s talent, both from established and new Company dancers, in our 2017/18 season.”

The RWB also welcomes two Apprentices from the RWB School Professional Division’s Aspirant Program: Victoria Jenkins and Liam Saito.

Catch the RWB Company dancers in their new roles Sept 27-October 1st for Twyla Tharp’s The Princess & The Goblin!

Greenroom: Dancers off Duty: How RWB dancers spend their summer

Illustration by: Bryce Creasy

Stephan Possin (Corps de Ballet)

Read about Stephan here.

Are you traveling, if so, where to?
I went to France with my grandparents. We ate at all my favourite restaurants and I got to eat many of my favourite dishes and wines. On June 3rd I went on a road trip with Sarah Davey to Banff for ex-dancer, Serena Sandford’s wedding.

Do you work or volunteer at all over the summer?
June 5th I started full-time work at the Residence as the project manager for Professional Division Summer Session and Dance Intensive.

Do you do any ballet during the summer?
I will try and take some classes at the School until the season starts to stay in shape.

How do you relax over the summer?
I relax by enjoying the nice weather, having BBQ’s and enjoying many of the events/activities that happen around the city. I finished my Spring Session course mid-June and that will conclude my five courses that I took this year, which will be very exciting for me. I am taking business at U of W. I will celebrate and await more courses in the fall. During the time off, I attend courses and seminars offered by various institutions around the city that supplement my business knowledge.

Favourite summer activities?
I will also take the time to attend many music shows that I do not get to make during the season.

Are there any special dates for you in the summer?
On June 29th I’ll be getting my second tattoo!

Katie Bonnell (Corps de Ballet)

Read about Katie here.

Are you traveling, if so, where to?
Every summer I go back home to Ontario (originally from Oakville but my parents just moved to Burlington this year so this is my first summer coming “home” to Burlington) to visit family and friends that I went to high school with.

Do you do any ballet during the summer?
I often take the train into Toronto to take ballet class as there are no drop-in classes offered in Burlington/Oakville. I usually go to a studio called Dance Teq which is run by former National Ballet of Canada principal dancer Kevin Pugh. I’ve been taking drop-in classes with him since I was 15 - I love getting to go back. He always remembers me too which is really nice. This summer though I’m mostly taking classes with Evelyn Hart, who knows I’m from the area and invited me to join her students whenever I’m available while she was in Winnipeg for Vespers. I’m sort of pinching myself over that one …I’m still star struck by her even though I’ve worked with her several times before!

Do you plan to do anything outdoors?
When I’m not dancing, I love playing with my dog Harry and being out in the sun as much as I can. I love going to visit my grandma at the lake to go canoeing, boating, and make s’mores over a bonfire (I’m an expert bonfire builder

Yayoi Ban (Soloist)

Read about Yayoi here.

Are you traveling, if so, where to?
I am traveling to Japan where my hometown is.

Do you plan to do anything outdoors?
I would love to go camping but it might be too early for my son, who is 3 months old, so not much outdoors this year.

Are there any special dates for you in the summer?
June 22nd is our 4th wedding anniversary.

Do you do any ballet during the summer?
I need to start ballet this summer to get back in shape after giving birth and to go back dancing in July.

How do you relax over the summer?
Spending time with my family and friends. I probably will go for many walks with my little one, whose birthday is on June 1st.

Favourite summer activities?
Camping, BBQ with my family and friends

Sophia Lee (Principal Dancer)

Read about Sophia here.

Are you traveling, if so, where to?
I will be travelling to the Rocky Mountains this late June with my family. Typically I like to go somewhere with hot climate (preferably a beach!) but this year I will be spending some time with my family in nature which will also be very good for my mind and body. I am very much looking forward going on this trip!

Do you plan to do anything outdoors?
My perfect ideal summer vacation spot would be a warm beach so I am hoping to get some beach time in before the summer is over. I normally don’t enjoy camping or hiking but I definitely would enjoy walking around in and seeing the beauty that nature has to offer. Our time off in the summer is crucial because it is the only time where we can really properly relax our mind and body at the same time. So, as long as I feel like I can do both of those and enjoy what I am doing or seeing, I would be happy!

Are there any special dates for you in the summer?
My Dad’s birthday is on July 13th, however, by that time I will already be back in Winnipeg to start the new season and we won’t be able to celebrate it together. Nevertheless, we will have a great time while we are all at home and perhaps we will celebrate it early! Father’s Day this year falls on June 18th so at least we will be able to celebrate that together!

Do you do any ballet during the summer?
Unlike last year where I guested with one of the ballet schools in Vancouver downtown, this year I decided to not participate in any guesting opportunities and just rest. The summer vacation for me this year is only a month long and I very much wanted to take all that time to rest my body and heal what I need to. Exercise routine wise, I have been doing light workouts for 15 min-25 min daily and I find it helps to stay more refreshed, awake, and good in general. It is extremely important for us dancers to take time off completely from dancing to nourish and rest our bodies and minds. But when we stop dancing all of a sudden, even after just a few days of not dancing we tend to feel stiff, lagging, and even groggy. I believe it’s important to find what your body needs by listening to it, and to find the maintenance routine that works for you. It takes time as with anything, but it all becomes fun if you take it as a chance to get to know yourself and your body!

How do you relax over the summer?
Over the summer I try to really focus on the enjoyment of everything; whether I am chatting with my family at the dinner table, seeing my friends, having some quiet time to myself, or even taking naps! During the season we are always so busy and on the go all the time which makes it hard to find time and truly enjoy those little moments. So I try and dedicate every moment that I can to fully enjoying everything- it also helps in getting rid of the stress that has built up over the course of the year. Other than that, the most important thing for me is to spend time with my family!

Jo-Ann Sundermeier (Principal Dancer) and Josh Reynolds (Soloist)

Read about Jo-Ann here and Josh here.

What plans are you looking forward to this summer?
Teaching and coaching dancers with Georgia Academy of Dance & the Performing Arts in association with Georgia Dance Theatre (Director Sherri Davis) for their performance of Romeo and Juliet. Working and performing with New Orleans Ballet Theatre (NOBT) (Directors Greg Schramel and Marjorie Hardwick). Will be part of the creation of a World Premiere by choreographer Diogo De Lima, to be performed as part of the NOBT Summer Solstice annual gala performance on June 23 & 24. Visiting with family in Georgia and Tennessee, and from June 26-29, we are squeezing in a trip to the Bahamas for vacation!

Are there any special dates for you in the summer?
June 12 is Josh’s birthday! And, on June 25- Josh proposed to Jo-Ann!

Ryan Vetter (Corps de Ballet)

Read about Ryan here.

Are you traveling, if so, where to?
Philippe and I are traveling to Japan this summer! He’s auditioning for a contemporary company in Niigata.

Do you do any ballet during the summer?
I usually take 2-3 weeks of doing no physical activity at all, to let my body rest and prepare for next season. The rest of the time I take ballet classes or go to the gym to do some strength training.

How do you relax over the summer
I usually do a lot of sudoku puzzles and word jumbles, lay out in the sun, if I can, and just spend time with friends and family.

Favourite summer activities?
Laying out in the sun listening to music.

Elizabeth Lamont (Second Soloist)

Read about Elizabeth here.

Are you traveling, if so, where to?
I just went on a road trip to Banff and Calgary to go hiking and adventuring with my boyfriend and to see a former dancer (Serena Sandford) get married! It was so incredible! They were seriously the picture-perfect couple. The wedding was also a great reunion for some RWB dancers that have changed careers or moved to other companies.
I will also be flying to New York to do a photoshoot with the Class in Dancewear and to start getting back in shape taking some Steps classes. I will also be traveling to Montreal and Toronto to visit friends and take classes from inspiring artists including Evelyn Hart.

Do you plan to do anything outdoors?
Most of my friends laughed out loud when I told them my summer plans. Hiking up mountains, goat yoga, camping for 2 nights and hiking the Mantario Trail (even after reading that article in CBC about the 400 ticks). I love city life but in the off-season it’s a chance to experience that second childhood and do things you can’t do before shows or when you are already taxing your body. Dancers tend to be really competitive with themselves and we are used to hiding our flaws in front of an audience. I went with a great group of friends rock climbing and I couldn’t help but laugh at myself. It’s important to be a beginner again!

Do you work or volunteer at all over the summer?
I am so excited to announce that I will begin teaching at Pilates Manitoba, starting mid-June. Pilates is something I have been loving for years after a bad injury. I love how it warms me up and keeps me in shape for the next season. Teaching has also been so eye opening for me; it helps me with my ability to communicate with dance partners and choreographers for which type of movement they want.

Liam Caines (Second Soloist)

Read about Liam here.

Are you traveling, if so, where to?
New Hampshire to hike Mt. Washington with some friends from high school.

Do you plan to do anything outdoors?
Lots of hiking and hopefully a game or two of paintball.

Are there any special dates for you in the summer?
My birthday is June 13th.

Do you do any ballet during the summer?
I’m dancing in two projects being created by local choreographers here in Saint John.

How do you relax over the summer?
By finding lots of “me time”.

Favourite summer activities?
Driving with the window down.