Alumni Association

The Alumni Association was a project conceived as Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in 1989.

At the celebration of this anniversary, generations of artists and employees discussed the contributions of the RWB to Canada’s cultural history, Winnipeg’s local community and the dance community at large. Thus the decision was made in 1989 to capture and solidify the memorable contributions of many to the organization.

The Alumni Association, which was formalized in 91/92, did the important work of supporting communication among alumni and current dancers. It nurtured activities within the School and the Company to ensure that past, present and future members and friends are able to enjoy the legacy created for years to come.

The aims of the Association included preservation of the art form, documentation of past works and maintaining connections built across generations of dancers.

Also, in 1991, discussions began to preserve the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s heritage through the development of the Company’s Archives.

In 1998, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet Board authorized that the Archives be established as an official project of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet Alumni Association with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet being recognized as the parent organization” by the amendment of Bylaw 1B, May 25,1998.

On February 1, 2009 a motion was approved by the Board of Directors to accept the mandate and acquisition policies regarding the RWB Archives. In 2010, the RWB Board of Directors took over the stewardship of the archives and staff and supplies funding began to be provided by the Company. It became an accredited institution through the Association for Manitoba Archives in 2013. In 2017, the archivist was made a permanent, salaried member of the RWB staff.

Due to declining membership, the Alumni Association moved to disband on February 1, 2021. The Development Department at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet became the custodian of the alumni database.

The Association’s legacy to the RWB include:

  • Successful organization of the 60th, 65th, 70th and 75th reunions and a special luncheon for the retirement of Arnold Spohr in 1988
  • Sponsorship of a Company dinner/wine & cheese event prior to one performance of the season
  • Support of our students through the provision of two scholarships annually to recipients within the Professional Division School. Originally funded through membership fees and sales during the performances, the fund now relies on individual donations and interest.
  • A $20,000 donation to the Company, to encourage the digital recovery and transfer of archival films, tapes and audio-visual materials for preservation purposes. As of April 2024, nineteen performances have been digitized, with the help of the Thomas Sill Foundation and Video Pool.
  • Preparation and release of the newsletter, UPDATE, three times per year
  • The framing and hanging of posters throughout the building with the current poster inventory showcasing more than 450 images. It has served to educate staff, dancers, students and visitors about the company’s enduring history.