First Steps

First Steps
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First Steps

About First Steps

First Steps is an annual competition and performance of new choreography by senior RWB School Professional Division students. It is designed to increase students’ artistic sensitivity, awareness, and respect for the creative process and is an opportunity to discover if they have a talent for choreography and to give them the tools to explore their potential.

First Steps is celebrating 30 years

First Steps is celebrating 30 years of original choreography, providing an intimate look into the creative process of the next generation of dancers and choreographers. The annual competition and performance by students of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet Professional Division leaves audiences amazed by the incredible professional talent displayed by the choreographers, who are often as young as 15 years old.

For 30 years, First Steps has given students the tools they need to become successful choreographers, enhancing artistic sensitivity through awareness and respect for the creative process: inspiration, rehearsals, wardrobe, lights, artistic mentorship and finally seeing the curtain rise and sharing it on stage with the world.

Since 1990, First Steps has produced some of the finest choreographers of the past three decades including: Mark Godden, Peter Quanz, and Jera Wolfe, along with countless dance teachers who have become experts at working through this process quickly, year after year.

In 2002, a competitive element was added to provide feedback from some of the finest artistic minds in Winnipeg and further enhance the educational experience. This is a highly sought-after position, and we are pleased to announce the jury for the 2020 First Steps performance:

  • Eric Nipp, RWB Company Alumni
  • Alanna McAdie, RWB Soloist
  • Julian Pellicano, WSO Conductor
  • Brenda Gorlick, Choreographer, Performer, Instructor
  • Catherine Wreford, RWB School Alumni, Performer, Choreographer & Teacher

First Steps has been a must-see performance for 30 years, due to the intimate and honest artistry on display. It can build you up and tear you down through the full spectrum of emotions conveyed by dance, and you will leave inspired to be more in tune to the world around you, and perhaps see how you can dance through life.

First Steps: Behind the Scenes






More Information


RWB Professional Division Students in the Ballet Academic, Aspirant and Teacher Training Program move through the entire creative process beginning in September and in February they present it to public and a panel of jurors. Although it is a competition, it is open to the public and is family friendly!

First Steps has grown to include the entire student body of the Ballet Academic Program, comprising Levels 1 to 7. Students who do not choreograph or perform are involved in all other aspects of putting on a production, such as:

  • Presenting pre-performance improvisation.
  • Working stage crew.
  • Working as backstage runners.
  • Ushering.
  • Greeting audience as master(s) of ceremony.
  • Photographers (choreographers at work), when applicable

Students choose the subject matter, length of their piece and style or dance genre. In order to accommodate numerous choreographers, each must adhere to a time limit of up to four minutes, to ensure that performances remain within a reasonable running time. Choreographers may choose to work with recorded music or live musicians and may use already existing or new compositions.

Finally, in coordination with the RWB Wardrobe Department, choreographers choose the costumes that best reflect their choreographic ideas, and with guidance from the Production Department, they design the lighting that will best support their dance.

Through First Steps, RWB School students increase their artistic sensitivity and gain awareness and respect for the creative process, giving RWB School students the tools to become responsible, professional, and open-minded young artists.

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