March RWB Spotlight

Mar 28 2018 | Posted in

Photo of RWB Dancers Elizabeth-Lamont, Alanna-McAdie, and Sophia Lee in costume

Royal Winnipeg Ballet Reveals 79th Season Featuring Female Lead Roles

Females take the lead in the Royal Winnipeg Ballet (RWB)’s 79th season of time-honored classics and a stunning new creation.​

On March 21st, RWB Artistic Director André Lewis launched the historical ballet’s 79th season with a video by acclaimed performing arts photographer/videographer David Cooper and performances by RWB Company dancers and RWB School Professional Division students in RWB Founders’ Studio.

The Company’s upcoming season features four female protagonists: The Handmaid Tale’s Offred, Clara from Nutcracker, Juliet from Romeo & Juliet, and The Wizard of Oz’s Dorothy.

RWB’s 79th season begins on July 25 with a treasured tradition that spans over four decades, Ballet in the Park. This free, family-friendly event showcases performances by the RWB Company dancers, as well as the RWB School Professional and Recreational Division students, until July 27.

The RWB’s season of mainstage productions opens in a dystopian future where the audience shadows the restricted, yet resilient, Offred as she navigates a world where women’s rights have been stripped away in choreographer Lila York’s powerful interpretation of Margaret Atwood’s gripping novel, The Handmaid’s Tale. This dance-drama returns to the Centennial Concert Hall from October 10-14 for the first time since the ballet made its world premiere five years ago.

From December 19-29, audience members adventure alongside Clara in Nutcracker, RWB’s timeless family favourite. With Nutcracker’s stunning and intricate costumes, set designs reminiscent of Winnipeg at the turn of the century, and lighting that illuminates the stage with magical winter wonderland effects, it’s no wonder patrons welcome Nutcracker as their holiday tradition.

From February 13-17, audiences stand alongside Juliet as she defies the ordered social structure in the re-telling of Shakespeare’s enduring Romeo & Juliet. The splendour of sixteenth-century Verona is recreated by the magnificent sets and costumes of Toer van Schayk in this full-length ballet that demands the most of a dancer’s personal capacity to create a role

The RWB’s season of mainstage performances ends in The Emerald City as audiences journey alongside the iconic, headstrong Dorothy and her friends in the Canadian Premiere of The Wizard of Oz from May 1-5. In this collaboration between the RWB, Kansas City Ballet and Colorado Ballet, L. Frank Baum’s tale of family, friendship, and courage is vividly brought to life by choreographer Septime Webre, choreographer of the hit Alice (in Wonderland).

From March 28-30, the RWB will present Ballet & the Band, a new and exciting artistic collaboration between the RWB and The Bros. Landreth.

The season will wrap up with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School Professional Division’s year-end performances: Spotlight and On the Edge. Spotlight, which runs from May 23-25, is an outstanding selection of repertoire and presents the impeccable artistry and budding talent of students from RWB School’s Professional Division.

On the Edge runs from June 5-7 and closes the RWB’s 79th season with provoking narratives and the fearlessness of dancers about to embark on a professional career in dance. On the Edge gives audiences a front-row seat to experience the passion and intensity of RWB School Aspirants during this diverse programme of new creations and timeless classics.

“It promises to be an exciting season of compelling narratives brought to life through dramatic choreography– from the classical Romeo & Juliet, to inventive choreography from international talents like Lila York, Septime Webre, and the emerging talent of our own Phillipe Larouche, who will work with The Bros. Landreth for Ballet & the Band,” states RWB Artistic Director André Lewis.

To purchase tickets for the 2018/19 season
Season subscriptions are now available 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. Patrons can purchase the three or six pack subscription until October 14, 2018; the choose-your-own packages will be available from August 2018-February 2019. Nutcracker single tickets go on sale at the end of July, with single tickets to all other 2018-19 season ballets going on sale mid-August.

Up next: the highly-anticipated Carmina Burana

RWB Company Dancers in a Ballet Pose

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet dancers are hard at work preparing for their upcoming performances of Mauricio Wainrot’s Carmina Burana, George Balanchine’s Serenade, and Larouche’s For Bye and About, which will be making its world premiere alongside the aforementioned classics.

This tour-de-force performance takes place at the Centennial Concert Hall from May 2-6 and closes the RWB’s season of mainstage productions.

Mauricio Wainrot choreographed Carmina Burana for the Royal Ballet of Flanders in 1998 to composer Carl Orff’s well-known music. This classic score, which has been featured in movies such as Excalibur and Oliver Stone’s rock biography, The Doors, will be performed by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, accompanied by the University of Manitoba Singers, Winnipeg Boys Choir and three soloists: Adam Sperry (Tenor), Ben Erickson (Baritone), and Sydney Clarke (Soprano). Set and costume design are by Carlos Gallardo, with lighting design by David Morrison. This is Wainrot’s first ballet to have entered the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s repertoire!

The Canadian premiere of Carmina Burana in 2002 set a record for the most attended mixed repertoire performance in over a decade. The Winnipeg Free Press called the production, “…a boiling cauldron of choreography…A rousing standing ovation at the end of this 55-minute spectacular was well earned.”

The Antwerp Gazette states that “Carmina Burana remains the pre-eminent crowd pleaser. Wainrot knows how to make a group of dancers dazzle. He knows how to place a powerful image against such overwhelming music.”

Tickets for Carmina Burana, Serenade, and For Bye and About start as low as $30, plus taxes and fees, and can be purchased online at, 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.

Hats-off to RWB School Rec Division students who starred in WSO’s A Chorus Line

RWB School Rec Division Students in Rehearsal

From March 16-18, the RWB School Recreational Division’s Dance Ensemble, which is comprised of students from our Senior Jazz and Musical Theatre Dance Ensembles, had the opportunity to share the spotlight with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and Rainbow Stage professional performers in the Pulitzer and Tony Award winning musical: A Chorus Line.

Capturing the spirit and tension of a Broadway chorus audition, A Chorus Line explores the inner lives of Broadway performers, each vying to book that next job. The show features one powerhouse number after another, such as ‘What I Did for Love’, ‘I Can Do That’, ‘One’, ‘At The Ballet’ and ‘I Hope I Get It’.

Our Dance Ensemble has been invited to dance with the WSO on other occasions, such as Mr. Mark and Manny Tuba Go to the Birds and Melodious Prime vs Boys of Noise and were thrilled to continue this tradition with A Chorus Line, which set the record for RWB Rec student involvement. This time, 16 of our students had the opportunity to perform on stage!

To read more about A Chorus Line, please click here.

Access Pointe Turns 5!

Photo from an Access Pointe event.

Did you know that Access Pointe, our free program for patrons aged 18-34, turns five this year?

In the fall of 2017, Access Pointe was rebranded to extend those eligible from 30 years’ old to 34. Through new partnerships with local businesses and organizations, Access Pointe offers fresh and exciting opportunities to connect with the artistry of the RWB in a fun, vibrant, and youthful atmosphere.

An example of one of our new Access Pointe events is Beer & Ballet, a pre-show event at a local brewery featuring a Q + A with a Company dancer, door prizes, and more!

    Access Pointe members receive the following membership benefits:
  • $30 tickets to RWB Company performances on a designated night
  • 20% off all RWB merchandise through our RWB Box Office
  • Door prizes at Access Pointe events such as Thermëa’s Thermal Experience Pack for 2 and Poplar Grove Winery gift packs
  • Email invitations, discounts and promotions for exclusive RWB events, such as backstage tours
  • Access to our Holiday Access Pointe Post-show Reception

For the first-time ever, Access Pointe members can now enjoy $30 tickets to any Carmina Burana, Serenade, and For Bye and About performances.

Please click here for more information on Access Pointe or to sign up for free.

Final ExplorAbility session of the year begins early April

Photo of participants in and Explorability Class

Do you know anyone who may benefit from RWB School Recreational Division’s ExplorAbility for Adults program? If so, take note that the last ExplorAbility session for the year takes place from April 4- June 6, 2018, with registration remaining open until April 4.

All classes are focused on developing body awareness, self-expression, posture and alignment in a creative and supportive environment. Wheelchairs, walkers, and other devices are welcome.

CBC Radio-Canada recently joined us in the RWB studio to get a first-hand look at the class, as well as gain perspective from RWB School staff Jacqui Ladwig (ExplorAbility founder and former Recreational Division School principal), Johanne Gingras (director of RWB’s Teacher Training Program), and an ExplorAbility participant.

Please click here to read CBC’s article and here to watch the video.

Each ExplorAbility for Adults session is $90 for the ten-week session. Registration forms are available on the RWB School website at and can be submitted by phone (204-957-3467), email ( ), or through the School Office at 380 Graham Ave.

For further information about ExplorAbility, please call 204-957-3467.

Green room:

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra: in unison for nearly 70 years

Image of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra

When did the WSO start accompanying the RWB shows?
The first mention of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra alongside the Royal Winnipeg Ballet was during the 10th Anniversary Gala performance from January 31 –February 1, 1949, when Walter Kaufmann, WSO Conductor, served as conductor (and composer for Visages and Slavonic Dances). Walter would also compose music for The Rose and the Ring later that year.

Approximately how many shows has the WSO performed with the RWB?
An article in the November 1970 house programme discusses the new arrangement between the RWB and the WSO for home performances. The size of the orchestra pit of the new Centennial Concert Hall made the use of WSO’s 65-member orchestra possible for the first time. A review from the Winnipeg Free Press on November 27, 1970 states that, “The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra under Carlos Rausch’s direction play with distinction and are a decided asset to the programme”.

The WSO is not credited in the programme until the December 29, 1971-January 2, 1972 house programme, but if we assume that they have performed for every home performance since November 1970, the WSO has performed for 194 productions.

Who started this partnership?
Carlos Rausch was the RWB Musical Director and Arthur Polson was the WSO Concert Master when the relationship began in 1970.

How many times do our dancers get to practice with the WSO before opening night?
The dancers only hear the orchestra once before opening night. However, the conductor working on the ballet attends quite of few of the RWB’s rehearsals to get to know the tempos the dancers have been working at, as well as when to bring in the music according to the choreography.

How does the RWB decide which shows the WSO accompanies?
The decision as to which shows the WSO accompanies is primarily based on the repertoire.

Which RWB productions has the WSO accompanied?

  • Aimez-vous Bach?
  • Canto Indio
  • Spring Waters
  • Moncayo I
  • Fall River legend
  • Meadow Lark
  • Le Corsaire Pas de Deux,
  • Donizettiana
  • Bhakti
  • The Golden Age
  • Black Swan Pas de Deux
  • Variations on Strike Up The Band
  • Don Quixote Pas de Deux
  • Rondo
  • Pas D’Action
  • Pas de Dix
  • Eternal Idol
  • Pas de Deux Romatique
  • The Ecstasy of Rita Joe
  • Pulcinella Variations
  • Nutcracker (both versions)
  • Pastiche
  • Sebastian
  • Scriabin
  • Grand Pas Espagnol
  • Etude Printemps
  • Rodeo
  • Les Patineurs
  • The Still Point
  • Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux
  • Moments
  • Adagietto
  • Rigodon
  • In Quest of the Sun
  • Le Sacre du Printemps
  • Bluebird Pas de Deux
  • Belong
  • Harlequinade
  • The Hands
  • Paquita
  • Family Scenes
  • Magnificat 1969
  • Solas
  • Mahler IV Eternity is Now
  • The Seasons

  • The Whims of Love
  • Excerpts from Legin
  • The Unicorn, The Gorgon and the Manticore
  • Festival
  • Glinka Pas de Trois
  • Women
  • Les Syphides
  • The Bitter Weird
  • Reflections
  • Sylvia Pas de Deux
  • Like a Song
  • Journey
  • Tarantella
  • Songs Without Words
  • Napoli Act III
  • Venus Pas de Deux
  • Danse Espagnol
  • Four Last Songs
  • Five Tangos
  • Our Waltzes
  • Meadow Dances
  • Bolero
  • A Dance For You
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Lento A Tempo E Appassionatto
  • Firebird
  • Flames of Paris Pas de Deux
  • Allegro Brillante
  • Giselle
  • Sun Dances
  • Transitions
  • Raymonda Act III
  • L’Estro Armonico
  • Translucent Tones
  • The Miroir Pas de Deux
  • Symphony in D
  • Façade
  • Song of a Wayfarer
  • Le Jazz Hot
  • The War Collection
  • The Big Top
  • Nuages
  • Steps
  • Swan Lake
  • Ballet Premier

  • Adagio Hammerklavier
  • Wingborne
  • Gaité Parisienne
  • Concerto Barocco
  • The Dying Swan
  • Three Pieces
  • Threnody
  • Piano Variations III
  • Seventh Symphony
  • Sequoia
  • Anne of Green Gables
  • Esmeralda Pas de Deux
  • L.I.F.E. (Love is for Eternity)
  • Ballo Della Regina
  • Symphony No.1
  • La Bayadere Act III
  • Valse Triste
  • Myth
  • Grand Pas Classique
  • Stoolgame
  • The Dream
  • Klavier Konzert Es-Dur
  • Angels in the Architecture
  • Room
  • Dame aux Fruits
  • Napoli
  • A Darkness Between Us
  • Other Dances
  • The Sleeping Beauty
  • Square Dance
  • Shepherd’s Wake
  • Five Brahma Waltzes in the Manner of Isadora Duncan
  • Pas des Deesses
  • La Princesse et le Soldat
  • Dark Elegies
  • Deuce Coupe IV
  • Twelve Interludes
  • Miroirs
  • Cloud of Witnesses
  • Swedish Songs
  • Sentinel
  • Field of View
  • Missing
  • Theft

  • The Leaves Are Fading
  • Serenade
  • The Rite of Spring
  • Thais
  • A Touch of Strauss
  • Manon Pas de Deux
  • La Soif
  • L’Etiquette
  • Dracula
  • Drunken Butterflies
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Grand Defilé Classique
  • Impromptu
  • Creaturehood
  • Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White
  • Butterfly
  • The Gitagovinda
  • Act I Pas de Deux from Lady of the Camellias
  • As Above, So Below
  • Carmina Burana
  • Anna Karenina
  • The Magic Flute
  • Inspiration
  • The Messiah
  • Peter Pan
  • Small Wonder
  • Hikarizatto
  • Carmen: The Passion
  • The Four Temperaments
  • Moulin Rouge
  • Wonderland
  • In Tandem
  • In The Upper Room
  • Svengali
  • Luminous
  • The Doorway
  • Rivalry/Revelry
  • The Princess and the Goblin
  • The Handmaid’s Tale
  • The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude
  • Going Home Star
  • The Faerie Queen
  • Vespers
  • Variations for a Lonely Theme