Approaching nearly 43 years with Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet, 22 of them as Artistic Director, André Lewis has spent most his career with Canada’s first professional dance company. A native of Gatineau, Québec, Lewis began his dance training in Ottawa before being accepted into the Professional Division of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School in 1975. He joined the RWB Company in 1979 where he enjoyed an accomplished career as a dancer for over ten years. In 1996, Lewis was appointed Artistic Director of Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet.
In 1998 Lewis commissioned Mark Godden’s blockbuster production Dracula and was instrumental in the 1999 creation of a new Nutcracker for the Company. In 2002, Lewis brought to Winnipeg the thrilling and passionate Carmina Burana by choreographer Mauricio Wainrot, and he presented a new version of The Sleeping Beauty. In 2003, he commissioned Mark Godden to create The Magic Flute and in 2004 he brought in choreographer Val Caniparoli to create A Cinderella Story. Lewis commissioned choreographer and RWB alumnus Jorden Morris to create Peter Pan for the Company in 2006. In 2009, for RWB’s 70th anniversary, Lewis commissioned Morris to create Moulin Rouge® – The Ballet, which set record attendance at every performance and is the highest grossing show in RWB’s history. In 2011, Lewis commissioned Mark Godden to create Svengali, an explosive look at the original master of mind control.
In 2012, Lewis and Atlanta Ballet Artistic Director John McFall co-commissioned a new creation by choreographer Twyla Tharp titled Twyla Tharp’s The Princess & The Goblin, based on the children’s fantasy novel by Victorian author George MacDonald.
In 2013, Lewis commissioned another outstanding new creation in conjunction with New York choreographer Lila York. The full-length ballet The Handmaid’s Tale is a bold adaptation of the novel by Governor General Award-winning Canadian author Margaret Atwood.
For RWB’s 75th anniversary season, Lewis commissioned Mark Godden to create the groundbreaking work Going Home Star – Truth and Reconciliation representing the many stories, both told and untold, of Indian Residential School Survivors and their families. This commissioned piece, which coincided with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, received national critical acclaim and is based on a story by Canadian author Joseph Boyden.
In 2017, the Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada honoured Lewis for outstanding indigenous leadership for initiating Going Home Star – Truth and Reconciliation, alongside Tina Keeper and the late Elder Mary Richard.
In addition to his position as executive artistic director, Lewis is a sought-after ballet instructor and has guest taught throughout Europe and in Japan.
Place of Birth