The Aspirant Program is a full-time, two-year, post-secondary training program for advanced-level classical ballet dancers who are making the transition from student to professional dancer.
Alumni of the Program enrolled at the University of Winnipeg can have their studio and course work recognized by the Faculty of Theatre and Film with up to 18 credit hours towards their degree.
The Aspirant Program has many advantages, the most important being the close, daily contact with the world-renowned Royal Winnipeg Ballet Company. Aspirants regularly attend Company class and are frequently cast in the Company’s full-length classical ballet productions, both in Winnipeg and on tour around the world. The Program also provides dancers with specially designed classes in ballet and pointe technique, modern, and classical variations, as well as the opportunity work with new and established choreographers and to create new work of their own. Additional classes may be offered in the following subjects: drama, character dance, and modern dance partnering. Aspirants are also supported in the preparation of audition photos, videos, applications, and other logistics, and are invited to take part in a variety of lectures on topics such as finances, stress, and anxiety management in collaboration with the Dancers’ Transition Resource Centre.
Aspirant Program Director
Mr. Léonard began his early training in Montréal under the tutelage and mentorship of Ms Natasha Izbinsky and continued his studies at the prestigious Vaganova Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia. Following his graduation in 1992, Mr. Léonard made his professional debut with the National Ballet of Canada under the direction of Reid Anderson. In 1995, Mr. Léonard joined the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory Ballet and Opera under the direction of Nikita Dolgushin and performed principal roles such as Prince Désiré (The Sleeping Beauty), The Poet (Les Sylphides) and Nutcracker Prince (Nutcracker) . In 1998, Mr. Léonard returned to Canada to join the RWB Company. Upon his retirement in 2002, he assumed the position of RWB School Aspirant Program Director and in 2016 began his esteemed role as School Director.
MEET OUR ASPIRANTS
In the last few years, Aspirants have had an opportunity to perform with the RWB Company in Nutcracker, Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, La Bayadère, Serenade, The Wizard of Oz, and many other works.
The On the Edge Tour sends the Aspirants throughout Manitoba for one to two weeks in March to share their love of dance with audiences of all ages in schools, theatres, and community spaces.
On the Edge, the Aspirant Program’s annual showcase performance in June, highlights the incredible talent within the student body and provides local audiences with an opportunity to see the stars of tomorrow today in an intimate and sometimes interactive setting.
Aspirants also participate in a wide variety of local productions and performances throughout the year with organizations such as the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and Prairie Theatre Exchange. Dancers may also gain experience performing in various media productions, such as videos and films.
The Aspirant Program daily schedule changes throughout the year based on dancers’ involvement with the RWB Company, other projects, workshops, and visiting guest artists. To the left is a sample of a daily schedule that follows the RWB Company format.
For more information
Director, Aspirant Program