Mar 21 2019 | Posted in Press Releases

Esteemed organization celebrates prairie roots as it launches milestone season

Yesterday in the Royal Winnipeg Ballet (RWB) Founders’ Studio at 380 Graham Avenue, RWB Artistic Director and CEO André Lewis, along with RWB Associate Artistic Director Tara Birtwhistle, proudly launched the world-renowned organization’s milestone 80th anniversary season, a season that demonstrates the Company’s claim that ‘Our home is the Prairies, the world is our stage.’ The 80th season includes premieres, classics, and audience favourites at home, as well as a busy touring schedule that will take the Company across Canada, into the US, and Mexico.

RWB’s season commences with a treasured tradition that spans over four decades, Ballet in the Park. This free, family-friendly event has grown to be a staple in many Winnipeggers’ summers and showcases performances by the RWB Company dancers, as well as the RWB School Professional and Recreational Division students. Ballet in the Park runs from July 24- July 26 and offers attendees the unique opportunity to watch world-class ballet under the prairie sky.

The RWB’s season of mainstage productions opens with the Canadian premiere of Greg Horsman’s La Bayadère, a co-production between Queensland Ballet, West Australian Ballet, and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Set in India in 1855, the unequivocal elegance of classical ballet is highlighted in this hypnotic tale of love, murder, and vengeful judgement by the gods. La Bayadère, which has never been performed in full by the RWB, will run from October 2-6 at the Centennial Concert Hall.

The legendary Evelyn Hart returns for the Company’s 80th anniversary in Four Old Legs, a new piece from choreographer James Kudelka that will be performed in the intimate setting of RWB’s Founders’ Studio from November 21-23. Hart dances alongside Zhenya Cerneacov in a performance celebrating time, memory, and experience with the premise that growing old is something better practiced by the young.

Nutcracker returns to the Centennial Concert Hall stage from December 19-28 to perfectly capture the essence of the holiday season. The wonder and whimsy of Galina Yordanova and Nina Menon’s choreography pairs beautifully alongside energetic crescendos to tell the story of Clara and her Nutcracker Prince. Nutcracker celebrates its own anniversary as the RWB’s Canadian prairie version of this timeless piece graces the stage for its 20th year.

The RWB welcomes 2020 with a flurry of high kicks as Moulin Rouge® – The Ballet charms Winnipeg once again. Drawn to Paris by the city’s passion, a flame fueled by the hearts of lovers and the souls of poets Matthew and Nathalie tempt fate as they seek love and destiny at the infamous cabaret – The Moulin Rouge®. Seen and adored by over 125,000 people across North America, Europe, and Asia, a renewed version of Moulin Rouge® – The Ballet returns to the Centennial Concert Hall from February 26- March 1.

A true nod to the organization’s illustrious past, the RWB’s season of mainstage performances ends with 80 Years – A Retrospective. This mixed-repertoire production runs from May 6-10 at the Centennial Concert Hall and illuminates three artistic directors whose vision each had a momentous role in the RWB’s history. Agnes de Mille’s exuberant and amusing Rodeo celebrates Arnold Spohr, Mark Godden’s one-act masterpiece Angels in the Architecture pays tribute to John Meehan, and Toer van Schayk’s Seventh Symphony, first set by the Dutch National Ballet, honours Henny Jurriens.

The season will wrap up with RWB School Professional Division’s year-end performances: Spotlight and On the Edge. Spotlight, which runs from May 21-23 at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, invites the audience to get pleasantly tangled in the pinks, blues, and yellows of a summer maypole as the Professional Division students weave a heartfelt tale of young love in La Fille mal gardée. Set against the backdrop of an enchanting golden countryside, this comedic production will charm and delight audiences of all ages.

On the Edge runs from June 10-12 and closes the RWB’s milestone season with an evening of classical, neoclassical, and modern repertoire featuring inspiring new work by some of the country’s most up-and-coming choreographers. See the next generation of dancers before they take the world by storm! 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.

Along with the season’s repertoire, the RWB announced that they will be honouring their anniversary season by launching a costume exhibit that will be displayed throughout Winnipeg, will host an Alumni Weekend for former RWB dancers, staff, and students and introduce the RWB Honour Roll to celebrate individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the organization.

“For 80 years, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet has made its home on the Prairies while taking its artistry to over 600 cities around the globe,” says RWB Artistic Director and CEO André Lewis. “This season promises to be our most memorable one yet as we premiere opulent classics, present longstanding audience favourites, and celebrate the RWB’s rich history by closing the year with some of our greatest repertoire. We are extremely grateful for the joint efforts of our artists, audience, and supporters who have brought us to this notable occasion.”

Lewis revealed that Resident Conductor of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra Julian Pellicano will serve as Principal Conductor for the RWB throughout their 80th season.

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet gratefully acknowledges the support of their funders: Canada Council for the Arts; Manitoba Arts Council; Canadian Heritage; Winnipeg Arts Council; Manitoba Sport, Culture, and Heritage; The Winnipeg Foundation, as well as their generous sponsors and donors.


Ballet in the Park
July 24-26, 2019
Assiniboine Park – Lyric Theatre

La Bayadère
October 2-6, 2019
Centennial Concert Hall

Choreography- Marius Petipa, restaged by Greg Horsman

Four Old Legs
November 21-23, 2019
RWB’s Founders’ Studio

Choreography- James Kudelka

December 19 – 28, 2019
Centennial Concert Hall

Choreography- Galina Yordanova and Nina Menon

Moulin Rouge® – The Ballet<br> February 26- March 1, 2020
Centennial Concert Hall
Choreography – Jorden Morris

In the spirit of the Moulin Rouge of Paris, Moulin Rouge® is a registered trademark of Moulin Rouge S.A.

80 Years – A Retrospective
May 6-10, 2020
Centennial Concert Hall

Choreography – Agnes de Mille, Mark Godden, Toer van Schayk

RWB School Professional Division presents La Fille mal gardée in Spotlight
May 21 – 23, 2020
Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre – John Hirsch Mainstage

RWB School Professional Division presents On the Edge
June 10 – 12, 2020
RWB’s Founders’ Studio

2019/20 TOURING

Ottawa, ON
- December 4-8, 2019- National Arts Centre

The Wizard of Oz
Ottawa, ON- January 23-25, 2020- National Arts Centre
East Lansing, MI- March 25, 2020- Wharton Center for the Performing Arts
Lincoln, NE- March 28 & 29- Lied Center for Performing Arts
Sioux Falls, ND- March 31, 2020 - Washington Pavilion Great Hall

Further touring information will be listed on as dates and locations are confirmed.

To purchase tickets for the 2019/20 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 1, 2019; the choose-your-own packages will be available from August 2019-February 2020. Subscriptions start at just $120 and subscribers benefit from saving 40% on Nutcracker adult tickets, saving 10% on additional tickets for friends and family, 10% off merchandise, flexible payment options, free ticket exchanges, invitations to open rehearsals, behind-the-scenes newsletters, and more. Single tickets go on sale July 24, 2019.