June & July RWB Spotlight

Jul 04 2018 | Posted in

Photo of children performing as a group at Sharing Dance Day

RWB School hosts City’s biggest dance party

Winnipeg’s biggest dance party came to the Axworthy Health and RecPlex on June 1. Sharing Dance Day, the celebration of a nation-wide movement aiming to improve access to quality dance education for Canadians, attracted more than 20,000 people across the country. For the fourth year in a row, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School and Canada’s National Ballet School invited participants of all ages and abilities to join Sharing Dance Day.

The event featured performances by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers, B.O.S.S. Dance Team, Q Dance, Folklorama talent Bola Oriyomi and Ariya Afrika Cultural Dancers, and Ella Steele before concluding with a huge group performance of this year’s Sharing Dance choreography, a fusion of hip hop and contemporary dance styles.

The Sharing Dance choreography, which was taught both online and through weekly free dance classes at the RWB from January 30-May 29, is rooted in the Sharing Dance 2018 theme of environmental stewardship. Sharing Dance was also available in the classroom. RWB Artistic Faculty worked with students and teachers in Winnipeg’s underserved neighbourhoods to promote physical and emotional wellbeing by incorporating dance and movement into the classroom.

RWB School Faculty and Sharing Dance Facilitator Lisa Brooks says “Sharing Dance has brought me the experience of working with all different types of people and really makes me realize that there is an artist in everyone. Sometimes we are looking for a way to express it, and this is a fantastic program to do so. Sometimes we may not even realize how deeply we can connect or relate to a concept being explored, and it has fostered curiosity, interest, and pleasure in the groups I’ve been working with.”

RWB School Faculty and Sharing Dance Facilitator Lisa Brooks says “Sharing Dance has brought me the experience of working with all different types of people and really makes me realize that there is an artist in everyone. Sometimes we are looking for a way to express it, and this is a fantastic program to do so. Sometimes we may not even realize how deeply we can connect or relate to a concept being explored, and it has fostered curiosity, interest, and pleasure in the groups I’ve been working with.”

Please click here to view CBC Manitoba’s Sharing Dance Day article and video.

July 25, 26, 27 – save the dates for Ballet in the Park!

Photo of RWB Company Dancers performing at Ballet in the Park

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet (RWB)’s 79th season begins with Ballet in the Park, a treasured tradition that spans over four decades. Taking to the stage at Assiniboine Park’s Lyric Theatre at 7:30 pm daily, this free, family-friendly event runs from July 25-27 and is a wonderful way to experience dance.

Not only will you have the opportunity to watch world-class ballet under the prairie sky, you will also see a sneak peek of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s new creation, The Wizard of Oz! L. Frank Baum’s beloved tale of family, friendship, and courage will be brought to life by choreographer Septime Webre and we invite you to be among the first to see the ballet before it makes its Canadian premiere in May 2019.

Ballet in the Park also features the thrilling Carmina Burana, a high-energy hip hop performance by the RWB School Recreational Division along with excerpts of Romeo & Juliet, danced by the RWB School Professional Division.

While dance is the highlight of the evening, we are happy to offer the following pre-show activities for your little ones:

  • Crafting
  • Wizard of Oz face painting
  • Pointe shoe toss
  • Contest to win a pair of tickets to an upcoming RWB performance

Need a pre, during, or post Ballet in the Park snack? We have you covered with the following food trucks—more to come closer to the date!

  • Kyu Grill
  • Walleye Wagon
  • Red Dot Japanese Cuisine
  • GG Gelati
  • Burgers R Us
  • Island Fusion

Read on to see what some of our dancers love about Ballet in the Park:

Sophia Lee:
Principal Dancer

“My favourite part about Ballet in the Park is that I get to dance in nature… being under the sun while feeling the breeze always feels awesome!”

Ryan Vetter:
Second Soloist

“My favorite element of Ballet in the Park is being able to see the audience because it is such a large crowd in such a beautiful setting.”

Stephan Azulay
Corps de Ballet

“Last year’s Ballet in the Park performance was my first show with the RWB. It was such an amazing introduction to the company and to Winnipeg. I was amazed looking out on how many people had come to watch and support us!”

Shake a leg at RWB School’s Adult Summer Dance classes

Photo of an RWB School Recreational Division Student in class

Are you looking for a push to get active this summer? This is it! The RWB School Recreational Division’s Adult Summer Dance program begins July 2 and runs until August 2, with students being accepted until July 14.

Adult Summer Dance is a five-week program for adults of all ages and skill levels. Whether you’re an experienced dancer looking to refine your technique or a beginner keen to try something new, Adult Summer Dance has just the class to meet your needs. Classes are available in ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop and modern dance with various options to suit your summer schedule. Be sure to take advantage of this unique opportunity to strengthen your body, focus your mind and express your individual style this summer – not to mention have some fun!

For the schedule and registration information visit www.rwb.org/adultsummerdance

Looking for a few reasons to join Adult Summer Dance? Read this article here.

RWB company dancers relaxing on a couch in formal wear

Celebrate the art of dance with Royal Winnipeg Ballet Company dancers in an event planned for you, by them! Dance the night away downtown to local favourites The Dirty Catfish Brass Band, enjoy signature cocktails, delicious appetizers and desserts, Aveda Institute’s pop-up beauty boutique, craft liquor tastings, a ballet ticket giveaway, and much more! This annual event invites the community to meet, mingle, and share a dance or two with your favourite dancers from the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Get your dancing shoes ready for the end-of-summer party that can’t be missed!

Early bird tickets are now on sale for $35 until August 6. Please click here to purchase your tickets online.

RWB School Summer Session students in class

School is in session for nearly two hundred dancers from around the world

Following the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School Professional Division’s annual Audition Tour, eight talented student dancers have received an esteemed Investors Group Summer Session Scholarship to continue their dance training at the School’s Summer Session from July 2-27. These eight will join just under 200 dancers from around the world for their month-long training and will stay at the RWB School residence.

Students who were accepted into Summer Session after the 2017-18 Audition Tour received a letter within days of their audition. During Summer Session, students are evaluated on talent and potential for professional careers in dance, as assessed by the artistic faculty, and invitations to attend Regular Session are extended to suitable candidates.

In RWB School’s Professional Division Summer Session, students train intensively in ballet and pointe technique and, depending on their level, pas de deux and variations. In addition to classical training, students receive a comprehensive education in character dance and modern dance. The curriculum is augmented by classes in historical dance, conditioning, music, repertoire, improvisation, choreography, visual art, dance history, creative movement, nutrition, performance enhancement, and strength-training for male students.

When not in the studio, Summer Session students will take advantage of Winnipeg’s beautiful summers by visiting the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Fun Mountain Waterpark, Rainbow Stage, Folklorama, and much more!

Photo of RWB Professional Division 2018 Graduates

Hats off to our grads!

Kudos to the RWB School Professional Division Class of 2018. Each student applied immense dedication since day one of their studies and should be extremely proud of what they have accomplished.

This year’s graduation ceremony took place at the RWB building on June 9. Guests were treated to Marius Petipa’s Gypsy Dance from La Esmeralda, Petipa’s Basilio Variation from Don Quixote, and a pas de deux from Mauricio Wainrot’s Messiah, among others.

What’s in store for this year’s grads? Many are returning to the RWB School’s post-secondary Aspirant Program in the fall. Prior to that, some students are spending their summer honing ballet skills in Europe and Washington.

Are you or someone you know interested in joining RWB School’s Professional Division? Our 2018-19 Audition Tour information will be posted here shortly.

Photo of RWB Company Dancer Elizabeth Lamont Rock Climbing


How RWB Company dancers stay in shape during the summer

Nothing says “kick back and relax” like summer does. For Royal Winnipeg Ballet Company dancers, it’s an opportunity to get much needed rest and relaxation while exploring other sources of physical activity at a (hopefully) leisurely pace. Read on to see how some of our dancers keep fit and have fun during their time off.

Sophia Lee
Principal Dancer

During the off-season I first let myself have at least two to three weeks without dance, depending on how long my vacation is, to give my body and mind a rest after a long season. During those weeks I still like to stay active by going to the gym twice a week to sweat and to keep the muscles working. After that, as I get closer to getting ready for the start of a new season, I slowly start to incorporate ballet class on my own into my exercise routine. I like to give myself plenty of time to re-build muscles that I need specifically for ballet. Other than that, I teach class or coach, which I enjoy a lot.

Yayoi Ban

I take ballet classes whenever I can, as well as jogging around my house in my hometown and doing TRX exercises at home.

Elizabeth Lamont:
Second Soloist

I am a true believer in cross training, not just for the body but also to challenge yourself mentally. When your passion is also your career, you take it extremely seriously. It’s good to be a beginner at something again and develop the courage to perhaps look a bit silly. I started rock climbing and I’ve been loving the strength it gives me in my back and legs—even my feet. It helps to have strong toes and to be flexible to reach higher, so it came a bit more naturally to me. I went outdoor climbing and learned to trust my feet! I also love going to yoga classes and the gym for a well-rounded workout schedule. I am a Pilates instructor at Pilates Manitoba and this summer I am teaching a bootcamp that incorporates the Pilates Reformer, mat work and TRX. I don’t just whip them into shape, when I am programming the class I always try it myself first! Pilates has been such a game changer to help heal, prevent chronic injuries, and learn to breathe properly.

Ryan Vetter
Second Soloist

I take two to three weeks off from all physical activity to allow my body to rest from the season. During that time, I continue to stretch at home about every other day. After the resting period is done, I begin taking ballet class five times per week. I also resume training with my personal trainer at the gym for the next month or so. Then, I’m rested and ready to start another season!

Peter Lancksweerdt
Corps de Ballet

I start by taking a real break from ballet and other physical activities to allow my body to fully recover from the previous season. For example, I recently went to Egypt for a week to have a lazy holiday and enjoy the sun. Then I would take some open ballet classes, not every day, but just enough to get the body going again. I will end my break by teaching a summer course here in Belgium (the “Internationale Dansstage Geraardsbergen”). This will be more intense; however I really enjoy it as it gets my brain completely back into “ballet-mode”.

Jaimi Deleau
Corps de Ballet

The off-season is an important time for me to take care of any injuries and to improve upon my conditioning and strength. After taking a week or two off to relax, I like to go to the gym a few times a week with a personal trainer. This helps me stay in shape and improve my core fitness. On days off, I sometimes go to the gym by myself or with a friend to work on general fitness and stretching. In June, I get back in the studio to prepare for next season by working on my ballet technique. I also teach ballet to the RWB School Professional Division students on the occasional Saturday. Keeping busy and training during the off-season is important for me to make sure that I am well prepared for the upcoming season!

Stephan Azulay
Corps de Ballet

I take class, Pilates, yoga, go to the gym or, if I’m in a city that has gyrotonics, I will take that.