Jan 16 2015 | Posted in Press Releases

First Steps Choreographic Competition celebrates 25th Anniversary from February 7-14

Winnipeg, MB – (January 16, 2015) First Steps Choreographic Competition celebrates its 25th Anniversary in 2015, running from February 7 – 12 with a Final Performance and Awards Ceremony on February 14. Started in 1990, First Steps gives students in the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School Professional Division an opportunity to create original choreography, overseeing all creative elements including music, lighting, costuming, and dancer selection. The week-long open to the public competition is a tremendous opportunity for students to present their original choreography and receive feedback on their work from a group of talented professionals in the dance community.

This year, in celebration of the 25th Anniversary, RWB School welcomes four renowned choreographers to the jury panel to adjudicate the competition. Mark Godden, choreographer of RWB’s critically-acclaimed work Going Home Star – Truth and Reconciliation and creator of RWB full-length works Dracula, The Magic Flute and Svengali, will sit on the panel along with First Steps founder Josée Garant, choreographer of ballet blockbusters Moulin Rouge ® - The Ballet and Peter Pan Jorden Morris, and Vancouver-based international choreographer Heather Myers.

“It is an honor and privilege to engage with young artists in the First Steps, workshop setting,” said Mark Godden, choreographer of Going Home Star – Truth and Reconciliation. “Myself and the other esteemed colleagues on the panel share a body of knowledge about dance and choreography that may be useful to young students. I’m excited by the opportunity to impart some of this knowledge to these aspiring artists.”

In total, 11 pieces will be created by RWB School Professional Division students with dance styles ranging from ballet, to contemporary, to jazz. Students will have a chance to win 8 awards including the CIBC Award for Innovation, and winners will be revealed at the Final Performance and Awards Ceremony on February 14. In addition to the student choreographed works, these students will perform a curated selection of repertoire from the renowned choreographers (exclusive to February 14 performance) including Sarabande (Godden), Allegro Grazioso (Garant), Finale of Deverell (Morris), SpringScape (Quanz), and more.

“CIBC has a long history of supporting programs and initiatives that make our communities stronger and more vibrant,” said Kathleen Woodard, Region Head, Central Canada, Retail and Business Banking, CIBC. “We congratulate the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School on reaching this important milestone with the First Steps program. Through our sponsorship, we are proud to support the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the role they play in training and inspiring the next generation of dancers.”

The RWB School graciously thanks CIBC for its continued support of the First Steps Choreographic Competition.


Event: First Steps Choreographic Competition
Date + Time (Performances): February 7, 9, 10, 11, 12 at 7:30 pm, February 8 at 2:00 pm
Date + Time (Final Performance + Awards Ceremony): February 14 at 7:30pm
Venue: Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Founders’ Studio, 380 Graham Avenue
Tickets: Tickets for First Steps are available by visiting, 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.


Arlene Minkhorst – RWB School Director
Scott Andrew – RWB School Artistic Faculty, First Steps Coordinator and former First Steps participant

To arrange interviews for an advance story, please contact:
RWB Public Relations Coordinator, Jane Puchniak
(P 204.957.3456 | E

About First Steps

The RWB School Professional Division is thrilled to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the First Steps Choreographic Competition this School year. Started in 1990, this annual week-long open to the public competition of new choreography is a unique opportunity for students to showcase their original work. First Steps 2015 will take place February 7-12, with a final performance and awards ceremony on February 14. First Steps audiences can expect to see any and all dance forms presented such as classical and contemporary ballet, modern dance and jazz.

About Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet School

Founded in 1970 by celebrated teacher and former Royal Winnipeg Ballet Company Principal dancer David Moroni C.M., Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet School has an international reputation for providing the highest quality training to its dancers and dance teachers. Under the leadership of Arlene Minkhorst since 2004, the RWB School has continued to develop a comprehensive dance training system for students pursuing a professional career. RWB School alumni have gone onto exciting careers in all facets of the dance industry and currently form 70 per cent of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet Company and comprise over half of its dance faculty.


For further media information, please contact
Jane Puchniak I RWB Public Relations Coordinator
T. 204.957.3456 I C. 204.223.4010