November RWB Spotlight

Nov 30 2018 | Posted in Newsletter

Home for the Holidays: RWB Brings Magic of the Season to Winnipeg

The Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy returns to the Centennial Concert Hall from December 19-29 with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s Canadian version of the festive classic, Nutcracker. Just in time for the holidays, the RWB celebrates the spirit of the season by ushering attendees to a winter wonderland at the turn of the nineteenth century.

Nutcracker, choreographed by Galina Yordanova and Nina Menon, is one of the largest productions by the RWB, putting around 60 dancers on stage. Two casts perform Nutcracker during its run, joined by students from both the RWB School’s Professional and Recreational Division, along with a colourful crew of walk-on guests.

“While producing Nutcracker, I tried to picture myself as Clara, adding my experience in every little detail,” said Menon. “I wanted Clara, the main character, to be surrounded by various strong women in her life, like Aunt Josephine, a character based on my great grandmother- an extremely practical down-to-earth woman.”

Nutcracker features stunningly beautiful and intricate costumes, such as a snowflake tutu which can take up to 50 hours to make, set designs reminiscent of Winnipeg in the early 1900’s, and lighting that illuminates the stage with magical winter wonderland effects. The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra completes the time-honored traditions as they accompany the dancers with Tchaikovsky’s brilliant and enduring score.

This year, the RWB is thrilled to have Canadian’s premier Ukrainian dance ensemble, Rusalka, join them on stage in Act II to dance a portion of Hopak, a traditional Ukrainian folk dance.

Prior to Winnipeg’s performances, the RWB performed Nutcracker at the Walton Arts Centre in Arkansas from November 23 – 25, and will perform at The Royal Theatre in Victoria, BC, from November 30 – December 2, Port Theatre in Nanaimo, BC, from December 4 – 5 and Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver, BC, from December 7 – 9.

Tickets for Nutcracker start as low as $30 for adults and $25 for children 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.

Books and Ballet Going Hand-in-Hand

Thank you to our wonderful attendees of our first-ever book club meeting, led by Canadian award-winning author, Margaret Sweatman. We had a wonderful time discussing Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale with you and how the novel related to the ballet.

All are welcome to join us as we venture alongside our season’s remaining protagonists: Clara from Nutcracker, Juliet from Romeo & Juliet, and The Wizard of Oz’s Dorothy.

Members of our book club are encouraged to participate in discussions on our RWB Book Club Facebook group and are invited to attend our in-person book club meeting that takes place after one performance. Our next RWB Book Club meeting, which will discuss Gregory Maguire’s Hiddensee (a retelling of Nutcracker), will happen right after the matinee performance at the Centennial Concert Hall on Saturday, December 22nd.

If you have a ticket for a performance of Nutcracker other than the Saturday matinee and wish to join the meeting, simply show your ticket at the Centennial Concert Hall door between 3-3:30pm on Saturday, December 22 and our Customer Service staff will show you the way to the meet-up.

For further information, or to sign up, please click here.

Concert Hour Ballet- That’s a Wrap!

Twelve days and sixteen performances later…our School’s senior level Professional Division students are back in Winnipeg after their nearly two-week long tour in November.

Eighteen of our Professional Division students wowed students in schools across Winnipeg, Dryden, Roblin, Carman, Brandon, MB, and Kenora, ON. Audible appreciation could be heard from students as the dancers spun, kicked, and leapt across the floor!

A highlight of this year’s Concert Hour Ballet was treating the audience to the World Premiere of The Marshmallow Test by famed chorographer Mark Godden.

While being on the road with friends is certainly an advantage to touring to these students, there are also eager to learn the ropes of being on the road. When asked what he was most looking forward to learning, PD student Quintin said a “better understanding of wardrobe and tech.”

Click here to read what The Brandon Sun had to say about Concert Hour Ballet.

RWB School’s Annual Audition Tour Continues to Seek New Talent in the New Year

Royal Winnipeg Ballet School Professional Division’s Audition Tour has hosted 12 out of the 16 auditions for this year’s annual tour!

Auditions will be held for the Ballet Academic Program, Aspirant Program, and Teacher Training Program in Minneapolis (MN), London (ON), Montreal (QC), and Winnipeg (MB) throughout January. We encourage all those interested who are 10 years of age or older to participate regardless of your dance background or skill level! Please note that we are offering advance registration discounts for all remaining locations.

Students are auditioning to gain acceptance into the Professional Division Summer Session (July 2019) in Winnipeg, which serves as the second audition phase to gain acceptance into Regular Session (September 2019 to June 2020).

Students that are unable to attend audition can submit a video audition until May 2019.

Returning this year is a master class open to ballet students regardless of if they audition! For more information on the master class and auditions, please click here.

Our Winnipeg audition date is Friday, January 25 at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, 380 Graham Ave!

9:00-10:00 | Audition 10-12 yrs
10:15-10:45 | Q & A
11:00-11:45 | Audition 13+ yrs
12:00-13:30 | Master Class 10-13yrs
12:30-14:00 | Master Class 14+yrs

We hope to see you there!

Celebrating Three Decades at 380 Graham

Many people call the Royal Winnipeg Ballet building home; a staff of over a hundred, professional dancers, hundreds of dance students (some of which live in the attached residence), and many plants…

While birthdays are typically reserved for humans and the occasional house pet, the RWB is happy to recognize the 30th birthday of our building at 380 Graham Avenue. To celebrate, we are putting the spotlight on our abode, known for interesting architectural characteristics like post-modernist design and arched windows.

We think that both ballet and building aficionados alike will enjoy learning the below facts:

  • Ontario-born, University of Manitoba grad Leslie J. Stechesen was the architect for both the main building at 380 Graham and the RWB School Residence, which opened in 1999.
  • Construction for 380 Graham Ave. began in August 1986 and the building officially opened on January 11th, 1988. Today, it’s a model for many companies around the world, especially those that are affiliated with a school division.
  • The total budget for the new building was 10.4 million dollars. 4.5 million was provided by the three levels of government and the remainder was raised by a Capital Campaign Committee, with donations from foundations, corporations, and individuals.
  • The Founders’ Studio on the main floor was designed for open-house performances and rehearsals for both Company and School dancers. It’s also used for photo sessions and press conferences and is available for rent to other groups in the community. It is the largest of the 10 studios in the building and has a seating capacity of 150.
  • The floors in the studios are permanent, but there are also portable floors for performances in the community. They are built independent of the studio walls, to very exact specifications to obtain the optimum measure of resiliency. The studio floors have a sprung wooden base with a vinyl covering, which lasts about three years and costs over five thousand dollars per studio.
  • To keep the studios at a warmer temperature than other areas, the building is divided into 14 zones that are individually controlled for heating, cooling and ventilation.
  • The building was designed with many open areas and windows to see the studios and focus everyone’s attention on dance. Interaction between students and Company members gives the students valuable insights into the life of a professional dancer.

More information can be found on the Winnipeg Architecture website here.


“Amazing, Unforgettable, Educational”: One Dance Student’s Experience in NYC

It was non-stop big fun in the Big Apple from November 6-11 for 14 of the RWB School’s Dance Ensemble students! The jam-packed trip was both educational and entertaining as the students took master classes at various dance hot-spots such as the American Ballet Theatre and the Broadway Dance Center. . The crew took classes at and observed the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre dancers in studio, took in a variety of shows like the Hungarian National Ballet’s Don Quixote, observed world-class art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and switched up their dance shoes for skates at the Rockefeller Center.

Shayla, one of the RD students, took a moment to reflect on her experience once the whirlwind adventure wrapped up.

What was your favourite part about your class at the Broadway Dance Center?
I really enjoyed the different perspectives and advice given by the teachers. Even if the work wasn’t always super challenging, it was cool to notice the different teaching styles and what they had to say about technique and the execution of movement that I can apply to my future dancing.

What was your favourite part about your time at Alvin Ailey?
I really enjoyed trying new modern styles. I liked both and learned a lot. I also enjoyed watching the classes and seeing a little bit of what one of their normal exercises were like- I loved the atmosphere.

What did you learn while taking class with the Rockettes?
I learned how precise and accurate they must be. They can’t be late on the music or off in spacing, if they are everyone will know. It was cool to find out that they always start with their left foot except on special occasions.

What was your favourite part about taking class with the American Ballet Theatre?
I enjoyed the class and the teacher. She gave some good advice, and it reminded me a lot of ballet class at the RWB. I found that the adage was fun and challenging. I figured that they must focus more on that at the ABT, so it was interesting to compare what we focus on to what they focus on. It gave me a lot to think of and work on!

What was your favourite performance and why?
My favourite performance was Don Quixote for sure. I have always wanted to see that ballet, so it was a real treat to see it there, especially in the theatre that I have always wanted to go to. I thought the lead, Kitri in particular, was amazing. Her balances were something to aspire to, and she blew me away every time she came on stage. I also enjoyed the livestock, an interesting addition that surprised me!

What are three main take-aways you learned from this trip to NYC?
To be confident in my own dancing, if you make a mistake, dance harder, let your artistry shine through. I have never been away from my parents like this before, so it was really great to have this experience and learn essential life skills within the comfort of my trusted dance family. All of the technical correction that I received in my classes, especially the ballet at Broadway Dance Center, which I got a lot of feedback in. To breathe in while you lift your leg, or balance as it will help you. To know that it is your body that initiates movement through your legs-those are just some main points.

How will this experience help you in your dance career?
This experience has not only given me a lot of insight into our industry, but it also showed me that we have a good technical base, and that we need to focus now on developing our artistry more. It also showed me just how many opportunities are out there for me in the future and that if I choose to pursue dance as a career, there will be a program perfect for me somewhere out there.

Do you have anything else to add?
Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for this amazing trip! I learned so much and came back home inspired by what I had seen. It gave me a better idea of what I want to do in the future and was more than I could have hoped for. I miss it already!