Approaching nearly 38 years with Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet, 17 of them as Artistic Director, André Lewis has spent the majority of 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. Since then has been the driving force behind the new and innovative works that have dramatically rejuvenated the Company’s repertoire. In 1998 he 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 Argentinean choreographer Mauricio Wainrot, and he presented a new version of The Sleeping Beauty. In 2003, he commissioned Mark Godden to create a new ballet based on the opera The Magic Flute and in 2004 he brought in choreographer Val Caniparoli to create A Cinderella Story, a retro retelling of the beloved fairy tale set to jazz and swing. 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 Rougeâ – The Ballet, which set record attendance levels 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, which premiered in Winnipeg in October 2012.
In 2012, Lewis and Atlanta Ballet Artistic Director John McFall co-commissioned a new creation by celebrated choreographer Twyla Tharp titled Twyla Tharp’s The Princess & The Goblin, based on the children’s fantasy novel of the same name by Victorian author George MacDonald. The ballet had its World Premiere in Atlanta in February 2012 and its Canadian premiere in September of the same year.
In 2013, Lewis commissioned another outstanding new creation in conjunction with New York choreographer Lila York. The full-length ballet The Handmaid’s Tale was a bold adaptation of the novel of the same name by Governor General Award-winning Canadian author, Margaret Atwood.
In addition to his position as artistic director, Lewis is a sought-after ballet instructor and has guest taught throughout Europe and in Japan.