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.
For 31 years, First Steps provides 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. 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.
First Steps has been a must-see performance for 31 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.
OUR CHOREOGRAPHIC WORKSHOPS
GETTING STARTED METHOD
MARCH 7 | 1PM - 2:30 PM
with Claire Marshall
In this first workshop Claire’s approach will be geared towards ‘methods of construction and a how to get started’ in terms of creating material and then demonstrating how it can be arranged and rearranged.
COMPOSITION IN CREATION
MARCH 14 | 1PM - 2:30 PM
with Philippe Larouche
The workshop will explore various aspects of composition. Philippe will give simple and clear directions on how to use a stage effectively. Insight on how to keep the audience focal point when there is a lot happening onstage along with transitioning the focal point from an element to another. In addition, Philippe will also address movement composition and choreographic composition. This choreographic workshop will tackle basic choreographic concepts. It will enable you to understand how to build movement effectively, how to use the stage to tell a story, how to use your personal values to guide your process and will teach you trade secrets for running rehearsals smoothly.
THE HOMEBODY CHOREOGRAPHER
MARCH 21 | 1PM - 2:30 PM
with Philippe-Alexandre Jacques
A Two-Part Workshop:
Part 1:Tips and tricks for the creation process of a choreography with dancers via video-link. This section will involve live practice and experimentation of creative tools with members of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet Aspirant Program.
Part 2: An exploration of the multitude of opportunities that exist for dance creation from home. This section will study examples of innovative solo creators that display their work online and in public spaces, highlighting the importance and legitimacy of these spaces as artistic venues.
About Philippe-Alexandre Jacques
Philippe is a former RWB Artistic Faculty member and First Steps coordinator from 2015-2019. He is also he led projects such as the Manitoba branch of the national outreach initiative, Sharing Dance, as well as worked as a choreographer and teacher.
EMOTION IN MOTION
MARCH 28 | 1PM - 2:30 PM
with Gabriela Rehak
In this workshop, Gabriela will share how she generates movement with a storyline in mind, and how she creates from a more theatrical place and how she finds vocabulary with intention! This is a workshop where to let your imagination roam and how to learn to trust your instincts.
CHOREOGRAPHY VIDEO SUBMISSION
SUBMISSION DATE February 17 – March 31, 2021
The Royal Winnipeg Ballet is very excited to invite you to submit a two to three-minute video, showcasing your very own choreography, through the private Dropbox link provided below. To assist you with your journey as a choreographer, the First Steps Artistic Coordinator, Philippe Larouche, along with selected artistic faculty members, will review your submission and provide you with personal, professional, and insightful feedback via Vimeo link within six weeks. We encourage you to choose your favorite style of dance whether it be ballet, jazz, hip hop, or anything in between, as our versatile faculty is capable of evaluating all styles. We welcome anything from solo’s to group pieces, while encouraging you to follow all COVID-19 Government Guidelines at the time of your submission to ensure the safety of all our participants.
WHO CAN SUBMIT Anyone 14 years or older is welcomed to submit their choreography for feedback.
WHAT TO INCLUDE In your video, please remember to include your name, age, email address, the title of your piece, the music composer and track title, and two or three questions you may have for our artistic faculty.
HOW TO SUBMIT YOUR VIDEO Once you have completed your video creation, please follow the instructions below to complete your submission:
- Click on the Dropbox link
- Click: Add Files – Files from computer – Select the file that you wish to add – Open
- Fill out your name and email address
- Click Upload
You’re done! Our School Administrator, Sarah Davey, will receive a notification of your submission and ensure that it is received by the First Steps Coordinator, Philippe Larouche. Should you have any difficulty with your submission, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Sarah by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
First Steps: Behind the Scenes
THE CREATIVE PROCESS
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.
- 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.