RWB Organizational Strategy: Reopening Safely

Jun 12 2020 | Posted in Blog

The health and safety of staff, students, dancers, and visitors are of primary importance to Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet (RWB). We have adopted a phased-in approach in coordinating the safe return of students to classes and employees to the workplace, and have developed and implemented detailed and rigorous procedures and protocols. This reopening is being done gradually and with caution, ensuring we adhere to all government guidelines and regulations.

It is important to note that procedures and protocols are routinely reviewed and assessed are subject to change as may be required.

Along with the safety precautions below, every effort is being made to minimize the number of people in the RWB building and limiting access once inside. The building currently remains closed to the general public. Only essential staff are working on-site and we continue to apply work-from-home measures wherever possible.

For anyone entering the building, we appreciate your cooperation in following these measures as we work together to reduce the spread of COVID-19.


No person will be able to access the RWB building who:

  1. Is currently experiencing one or more of the following symptoms:
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Cough
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing/shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Fever or chills
  • Headache
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  1. Has cared for or had close contact (less than 6 feet of distance for longer than 15 minutes) with someone who is symptomatic, suspected or has tested positive for COVID-19, while they were ill, and did not have appropriate personal protective equipment.
  2. Has travelled outside of Manitoba to Eastern Canada, or outside of Canada, in the past 14 days, unless the purpose of travel was an exception outlined in The Public Health Act.


Every person entering the RWB building must do the following:

  1. Successfully complete a self-assessment prior of entry to the building.
  2. Sanitize hands upon entry and prior to departure of the building.
  3. Frequently wash hands with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  4. Face masks are mandatory when moving throughout the building.
  5. Cover nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, or an elbow/shoulder if no tissue is available. Immediately discard used tissue and wash or sanitize hands.
  6. Avoid close contact with people that are or appear to be ill.
  7. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  8. Maintain a distance of at least 2m (6 feet) from others.
  9. Stay home if ill or are caring for someone who is ill.


We have welcomed our students back to the RWB building and we are extremely grateful for the diligence being shown by everyone with respect to our new safety protocols.

In order to provide a safe arrival and departure experience, designated drop-off and pick-up entrances and exits are now in effect. Students are to be dropped off in the drive thru entrance off Edmonton Street no earlier than 10 minutes before a scheduled class, and picked up at the front entrance on Graham Avenue. Class times have been staggered to accommodate the number of students potentially arriving at the same time and to reduce congestion in common areas.


Studios will be cleaned and sanitized frequently and between groups. Parent and caregiver access is extremely limited in the RWB building and only our youngest students may have one adult accompany them to class, Sunday through Friday and only students are permitted in the building on Saturday. Every student and parent entering the RWB building must do the following:

  1. Students must successfully complete a self-assessment before entering the building
  2. Students must present an Access Card in order to be buzzed into the building
  3. Wash their hand with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before and after class. Teachers will also adhere to this protocol.
  4. Remain physically distanced (2M) from one another at all times inside and outside the studios. Teachers will also adhere to this protocol.
  5. Arrive dressed for class; there will be no access to changerooms or lockers.
  6. Limit the number of personal belongings to be brought into the building.

Student Experiencing COVID-19 Symptoms

Students displaying any COVID-19 symptoms or who does not pass the self-assessment must remain home and participate in their classes virtually through ZOOM.

If a student displays symptoms while in class, their teacher will remove them from the studio and the School Office will contact their caregiver to come pick up their child. After being removed from the studio, students will wait in a safe and comfortable space (RWB Boardroom) until their parents arrive. The space is then fully sanitized.

If a student is experiencing severe symptoms or difficulty breathing, 911 will be called. Otherwise, they will be asked to:

  • Seek medical advice and information about COVID-19 testing.
  • Use the self-assessment tool to determine if they need further assessment or testing. The self-assessment tool can be accessed here. or call Health Links-Info Santé in Winnipeg at 204-788-8667, toll-free elsewhere in Manitoba at 1-888-315-9257. Follow recommendations.

They will also be provided with the above contact information on paper or email. Based on test results, local public health officials will advise the individual what actions should be taken. For example, if COVID-19 test results are negative, they may be advised to self-isolate for 14 days, or until symptoms have resolved for 24 hours.

The Division Principal will coordinate follow-up as required with the student, staff, and parent and, if applicable, public health officials.

Action following a Positive COVID-19 Case identified in the RWB

Please note that any action the individual and RWB School will take will be determined by Public Health:

  • When a case of COVID-19 is confirmed, Winnipeg public health officials will lead the response.
  • The Manitoba Public Health will advise the RWB School if a confirmed case of COVID-19 was present on campus during the person in question’s infectious period, and assess the need for the RWB or part of the RWB to be closed for a period of time, and provide any other further direction.
  • Manitoba Public Health will identify close contacts of a positive case and contact those individuals who may have been exposed.
  • RWB School may be advised to close off areas used by the infected person and not use these areas until after cleaning and disinfecting is completed.
  • If there was no significant exposure on campus, the institution will not be notified.
  • The communication notifying the community will be done following the lead of Winnipeg and provincial public health officials

Please note this statement does not fully disclose all measures being taken to protect those who support the art of dance within the RWB building. Those employed, enrolled, or entering the building have been provided with the full list of precautions currently in effect. Additionally, these protocols are constantly being assessed and have the potential to change as our community works together to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

RWB Company Performances

Due to ongoing public health restrictions, Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet (RWB) has chosen to cancel the premier of Alice (in Wonderland) and the beloved Nutcracker, in an effort to protect our artists, staff and audience.

The dancers are returning to the studios, but in a limited capacity which includes:

  • Company dancers divided into cohorts
  • Mandatory mask use at all times
  • Maintaining physical distancing while rehearsing in the studio

The RWB is following government recommendations and guidelines stringently, and until physical distancing restrictions are lifted, it has proven challenging to return to the studios, much less large-scale productions at this time.

We remain dedicated to teaching, creating and performing outstanding dance and plans are already in place to reveal upcoming performances able to accommodate a safe return to the stage for dancers and patrons alike. Details are still forthcoming, but we are currently evolving the delivery of dance throughout this uncertain time and as the dancers return to the studios will see them working on new creations, choreographed and performed by them, alongside revivals of pieces in mid-November followed by a Nutcracker Suite in mid December all presented at the RWB Founders’ Studio on 380 Graham Avenue.

The RWB remains hopeful that the remaining performances of the RWB’s 81st season, Swan Lake in March, The Magic Flute in April, Spotlight: 50th Anniversary in May, and On The Edge in June, will go forward as scheduled. The everchanging nature of the COVID-19 pandemic offers hope for the company, which has resolved to monitor the public health environment and assess each performance it approaches.

The RWB Box Office will continue to operate remotely. Please contact our box office at 204.956.2792 or send an email at and a customer service representative would be happy to assist. Please note a change in box office hours on our website as we do our best to support you.

“Although our return to the stage this calendar year will look a little different, the RWB was built by Winnipeggers who believe in us. We are a creation of the prairies; we must dance, and we ask that you continue to believe in us through these challenging times.” says Associate Artistic Director, Tara Birtwhistle. “The art of ballet has always been a way for society to cope with the toughest of times and this is no exception.”