September Company Spotlight

Sep 25 2017 | Posted in Spotlight

This week: Twyla Tharp’s The Princess and the Goblin Opens RWB’s 78th Season!

RWB Company dancers in 2012's Twyla Tharp's The Princess and The Goblin; Photo: RWB Archives

Our storybook season begins on September 27th with renowned choreographer Twyla Tharp’s The Princess and The Goblin. Adapted from the fairytale by Victorian novelist George MacDonald, the critically-acclaimed story ballet is a dazzling romp through a fantastical world where goblins reign and courageous children battle for good over evil. Running at the Centennial Concert Hall until October 1st, the RWB is thrilled to bring this epic quest back to stage.

Twyla Tharp’s The Princess and The Goblin was co-commissioned by the RWB and Atlanta Ballet; the ballet had its initial premiere in Atlanta in February 2012 before making its Canadian premiere in October of the same year. The work received high praise from the Wall Street Journal, which characterized the ballet as “intriguing and moving,” while The New York Times called it “enchanting and funny…a powerful image of love.”

Tharp, one of contemporary dance’s most eminent figures, has created a true delight for audiences of all ages. With its clever choreography, original costuming and dramatic staging, The Princess and The Goblin is, at its heart, a captivating tale of humility and forgiveness.

The Princess and The Goblin is about growing and finding strength and courage on your own. It’s funny, tender, and touching,” says Sarah Hillmer, Atlanta City Ballet Mistress and Stagehand to Twyla Tharp. “The Princess and The Goblin is very fun to dance for the Company. When Twyla puts on a show, you are going to dance!”

Not only is Twyla Tharp’s The Princess and The Goblin a treat to perform for RWB Company dancers, but for RWB School students too. Twenty-six students from both the RWB School’s Professional and Recreational Division have the exciting opportunity to dance on stage in this full-length production.

Tickets are available 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.

Introducing RWB’s all-new Access Pointe!

(L-R) Stephan Possin, Manami Tsubai, Ryan Vetter; Photo by Daniel Crump

The RWB is pleased to announce a brand new cultural experience for those aged 18 to 34: the RWB’s all-new Access Pointe Program!

We are proud to offer ACCESS to RWB performances, with more events, parties, and exclusive membership incentives than ever before.

Interested in signing up or know someone who would be? Visit us here to start saving and enjoy membership benefits:

  • Email offers for $30 tickets on select RWB Company performances
  • 20% off all RWB merchandise both online and through our RWB Box Office
  • Email invitations, discounts and promotions for exclusive RWB events
  • Free access to the Access Pointe Holiday Reception
  • Monthly Spotlight E-newsletter

Don’t miss the first event of the ALL-NEW ACCESS POINTE:

Access Pointe Pre-Reception: Beer & Ballet
PEG Beer Co, 125 Pacific Ave.
Wednesday, Sept 27

5:00 PM
18+ - Photo ID required

Join the RWB for a pre-show reception at PEG Beer Co before opening night of Twyla Tharp’s The Princess and The Goblin!

Bring your friends and enjoy a Q & A with RWB Company dancer Ryan Vetter (Corps de Ballet) while you take part in the specialty crafted drinks and menu items PEG Beer co has to offer.

Entry is free but space is limited.
Come to the party, then stay for the show!

Growing Up Goblin: RWB Company Dancer Reflects on his role in Twyla Tharp’s The Princess and The Goblin

RWB School Students in Twyla Tharp’s The Princess and the Goblin in 2012; Photo: RWB Archives

Massachusetts-born Liam Saito joined the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School’s Professional Division in 2012. After graduating in 2015, Liam danced for 2 years in RWB School’s Aspirant Program and this season, was hired by the RWB Company as an Apprentice for their 2017/18 season.

This September, Liam’s training will come full circle as he dances once again in Twyla Tharp’s The Princess and The Goblin. As a student in the Professional Division, Liam danced with the Company 2012, when Twyla Tharp’s The Princess and The Goblin made its Canadian debut. This time, Liam will perform as a professional dancer in the role of ensemble goblin.

“Exciting” and “nostalgic” are two words Liam uses to describe how he feels about returning to this ballet.

When asked what one of his biggest challenges is when taking on this new role, Liam said “finding and developing an individual character quirk to add to the choreography.” Liam notes that there is a lot of artistic license in the ability to adapt character traits, as opposed to his role in 2012.

Catch Liam in Twyla Tharp’s The Princess and The Goblin at the Centennial Concert Hall from September 27 – October 1st. Tickets are available 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.

Barre After Hours: A Royal Success

Photo courtesy of RWB Barre After Hours Instagram

The RWB’s third annual Barre After Hours took place on Saturday, September 9th at the RWB building.

This year’s theme, “Crashing The Royals”, was a crashing success with 300 guests who mingled with friends and RWB dancers alike to live musical performances by Skene Music, Ron Paley, and singer/songwriter: Faouzia. Capital K Distillery was on hand with Tall Grass Vodka samples, along with champagne tasting courtesy of Philippe Durand Wines. Chef Wayne, RWB School’s Residence chef, delighted our guests’ palates with mouth-watering appetizers such as whitefish caviar on a rice cracker with pickled cucumber, Caesar shots with blackened Cajun shrimp, vodka espresso dark chocolate mousse in a chocolate cup, tequila-infused watermelon with lime salt and mint syrup, and seared albacore run tuna with sake-wasabi sauce in a black sesame cup.

The night also featured thematic craft cocktails and performances by RWB School Aspirant dancers, a duo of contortionists, and live painting by local artist Scenario (Nereo).

The RWB’s Barre After Hours wishes to thank all sponsors and supporters who helped make this year’s event a success!

It’s Back-to-School for RWB School’s Professional Division

RWB School PD Students in Residence; Photo: RWB Archives

It’s the time of year again when the adventure of a new school year begins. For the Professional Division, both faculty and students start to prepare for the year ahead with heightened anticipation. Sharmon Luchuck, RWB’s marketing intern, had the chance to sit down with Suzanne André, Principal of RWB School’s Professional Division, and Aiden, new level-two student in the Professional Division’s Ballet Academic Program, for their thoughts on the new year.

From a faculty perspective, the first few months are very busy with a lot of positive energy in the air, as the 100 new and returning students arrive and settle in. Both teachers and students are happy to see each other and catch up on how they spent their summer and are excited to be reunited through dance.

Twelve-year-old Aiden from Red Deer, Alberta, recently moved into the School’s Residence and has already started making friends. He trained at Penhold School of Dance just outside Red Deer but is eager to begin training at the RWB School. So far, Aiden’s first week has been going well. Aiden is settling into Residence, learning the School‘s daily routine, his dance schedule, starting his repertoire of dance classes, and has already begun rehearsing for his upcoming role in Twyla Tharp’s The Princess and the Goblin, for which he is extremely excited about. In the evenings, he has time to catch up with old friends and speak to his family. Aiden also mentioned how supportive all the faculty has been to make him feel at home.

When asked about advice for new students, Ms. André advises students “to give yourself time to settle in to your new surroundings, school, and possibly even their new city. It’s important to take the time now to get used to the new routine and environment.”

Ms. André walked Sharmon through the students’ schedules: Level 1-7 Professional Division students take a one-and-a-half-hour ballet class six days a week. They take additional classes, which depending on their level can include character, modern, historical, improvisation, pointe, pas de deux, variation, conditioning, and strength training. Students also have access to exercise equipment in the physiotherapy room and take classes in nutrition, performance enhancement, and music as part of their program.

Most students in grade 6-8 of the Ballet Academic Program attend academic classes until 2 PM at Nordale School. Students in grade 9 – 12 begin their day at 8:30 AM with ballet classes before attending academic classes at the University of Winnipeg Collegiate. After their academic classes are done, the students return to the studio to train into the evening.

On top of a typical school bag, Professional Division students rely on their dance bag. Their dance bag holds all daily essentials to get them through the day. Tucked inside is their uniform, soft shoes, character shoes, stretching equipment such as Thera bands, warm-up outfits, and pointe shoes for the girls.

Final piece of advice for new students from Ms. André? “Ask questions. Both staff and returning students know what new students are going through, and are more than happy to help.”

GreenRoom: Fantasy is in the air! RWB Company dancers chat about their favourite fantasy stories and characters

The RWB dancers often dance a variety of fantasy roles on stage, but what are their favourite fantasy stories and characters? Read on to find out!

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Jo-Ann Sundermeier
My favorite fairytale is The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum. I’m especially in love with the 1939 film adaptation of the novel.

Ryan Vetter
My favorite fantasy novel is The Tale of Desperaux by Kate DiCamillo. It’s about a little mouse with big ears who saves the day even though he’s way smaller than everyone else in the story. I really appreciated that message as a kid and I read the book about five times in one year.

My favorite fairytale is Cinderella. Everybody loves seeing people end up where they truly belong.

My favorite character from a fantasy novel is Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series. Her intelligence, bravery, and loyalty to her friends are qualities that everyone should aspire to.

Elizabeth Lamont
I always loved Cinderella! It was also my first ballet I saw as a child and what made me want to be a ballerina.

Katie Bonnell
My favourite fantasy novel is a toss-up between Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and The Night Circus.

It’s not by any means a “classic” fairytale, but growing up I loved the story of Princess Prunella and the Purple Peanut. I also loved the Disney adaptation of Robin Hood.

My favourite fantasy character is Ron Weasley!!

Jaimi Deleau
I am a huge Star Wars fan! I even have a Star Wars t-shirt collection and if you stop by the studio you might even catch me in my Star Wars tights!

My favorite character is R2D2.

Yoshiko Kamikusa
I know it’s a play rather than a fairytale, but I really like “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by William Shakespeare…it does have fairytale elements.

My favourite character in a fairytale would be the Cheshire Cat from “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll.

Peter Lancksweerdt
My favourite fantasy character would definitely be Peter Pan. I just love the fact that he’s so proud of being a child and he wants to stay like this forever. And he can fly, which has always been a childhood dream of mine. Dancing (especially the high jumps) can get me a little bit closer to that dream, this is probably one of the motivations that got me into dancing when I was young.