January Company Spotlight

Jan 23 2017 | Posted in Company Spotlight

Kicking off the new Year with Mixed Programme

RWB Company Dancers; Photo by Réjean Brandt Photography

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s countdown to Mixed Programme is on! Join us on January 27th and 28th to witness four awe-inspiring renowned ballets:

Mark Godden’s Angels In The Architecture, Lila York’s Celts, William Forsythe’s Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, and Don Quixote Pas de Duex.

Godden’s Angels In The Architecture, set to Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring”, pays homage to the Shakers, 19th century America’s largest and best known communal society. Angels In The Architecture represents the excellence and simplicity of their work, the creativity, and the dedication and devotion that were integrated into their daily lives.

Curious about Angels In The Architecture? RWB Ballet Master, Tara Birtwhistle, says:
“For me, Angels in the Architecture is a spiritually moving ballet in which the dancers move and breathe as one. As one of the original dancers in the cast, I always felt as though we were quietly allowing the audience a rare glimpse into the deep sense of community dancers share. Twenty-six years later, I still think it’s one of the most inspiring ballets in our repertoire.”

Don Quixote Pas de Deux will be performed by Saeka Shirai and Yue Shi who won Silver in 2016 at the oldest and most prestigious ballet competition: Varna’s International Ballet Competition. Don Quixote Pas de Deux was danced as one Shirai and Shi’s classical pieces at the competition and we are thrilled to witness this duo perform the winning piece in Winnipeg.

Lila York’s Celts is an exuberant fusion of ballet, modern, classical, and Irish folk dance set to the music of pulse pounding and foot stomping rhythms of Celtic music. The inspired choreography showcases ensemble pieces and energetic solos. The ballet springs to life with a pastiche score by The Chieftains, Mason Daring, William J. Ruyle, Bill Whelan and Celtic Thunder.

What are the critics saying about Celts?
“Lila York’s Celts is an astonishing array of dance images of Ireland, a piece that is both profound and thrilling… Celts builds, evoking a thousand years of strife and then a burning joy. There’s not a whiff of cliche in it, nor is sentimentality…This dance in a rush to tell us many things… In its passion, dignity, and invention, York’s Celts is everything the Dublin-via-Vegas Riverdance is not… It offers exactly the kind of lift the world needs now.” The Boston Globe. Christine Temin

All four performances are danced in one amazing night on Friday, January 27th and Saturday, January 28th, with a matinee performance available on January 28th.

Tickets for Mixed Programme start as low as $29.00 for adults and $25.00 for children, plus taxes and fees, and can be purchased online, in person through the RWB Customer Service Office at 380 Graham Avenue or by calling 204-956-2792 or toll free 1-800-667-4792. Groups of ten or more should contact the RWB Customer Service Office for more information on group discounts.

Peek into the RWB’s Valentine’s Gift Guide

Make 2017 the year that you don’t purchase a last-minute Valentine’s Day Gift. Alleviate the stress by shopping the RWB Valentine’s Gift Guide!

RWB vintage tees are available through the Box Office and at our shows. Deck your ballet enthusiast out in our warm-up gear, including vintage RWB tees, lanyard, and water bottle. Available exclusively through the RWB Box Office. Call 204.956.0183 for availability.

First Steps, the RWB School Professional Division’s annual choreographic competition, is February 15-18. Enjoy innovative new ballet performances for only $10! Buy tickets here!

There are few combinations more romantic than ballet and Elton John. Love Lies Bleeding, an unforgettable story of rock ‘n’ roll, drama, passion, defeat, and – above all – love, features classic songs by Elton John. Treat yourself and your special someone! Purchase tickets here.

Nutcracker- that’s a wrap!

RWB Company Dancers; Photo by Réjean Brandt Photography

A tremendous “thank you” to all who attended Nutcracker. Nutcracker is the Company’s largest production and we look forward to performing it every year. What lays ahead for Nutcracker next year? Just around 330 days left to find out!

Curious to see what others thought of 2016’s Nutcracker?

“The 77-year-old company keeps reinventing the classic that’s performed every festive season, adding polar cubs, cherubs and bats—this year it’s a flock of glittering antlered reindeer—to keep things fresh. And fresh it is.”- Holly Harris, Winnipeg Free Press. Read Holly Harris’ review here.

Take a look at what B.C. attendees are saying on Twitter:

-@BalletBC & @RWBallet #NutcrackerBallet was amazing! Feeling the holiday spirit and so in love with the polar bear cubs! #ChristmasIsComing
-Beautiful performance @BalletBC & @RWBallet with this year’s #Nutcracker. Stunning & love the bits of #Canadiana that made it special. #xmas
-Feeling joyful and triumphant. Watched the @RWBallet Nutcracker and sipped an eggnog while perfect snowflakes danced to the ground. #feels

Read Victoria’s Times Colonist’s insightful article with André Lewis here.
Read Vancouver’s Lords of Dogwood’s review here.

From Linebacker to Nutcracker

Moe Leggett warming up at rehearsal; Photo by Natasha Havrilenko

Maurice (Moe) Leggett, of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, accepted our Nutcracker walk-on role with tremendous enthusiasm. Attending just one rehearsal wasn’t enough for Moe as his desire to learn dance was sparked by this walk-on invitation. By attending numerous classes and rehearsals, Moe learned the technique behind properly lifting a ballerina, which he did with grace for numerous Nutcracker performances.

Watch the Winnipeg Blue Bombers capture Moe’s experience here.

During the evening Nutcracker performance on the 30th, Moe was joined by two Winnipeg Jets: Mark Scheifele and Jacob Trouba. Walk-on roles are typically reserved for Act 1’s famous Party Scene; however, Scheifele and Troubla’s skating skills were put to use during the opening scene’s shinny hockey game on a frozen pond. Sports fan or not, Trouba and Scheifele delighted the audience and had their Nutcracker experience broadcasted on TSN during the following Winnipeg Jets’ games. Click here to watch TSN’s coverage.

Moe, Mark, and Jacob rehearsing the opening scene; Photo: Natasha Havrilenko

Behind the Scenes at Sharing Dance 2017’s Media Launch

Eugene Baffoe teaching Winnipeg mascots Sharing Dance routine; Photo: Natasha Havrilenko

This month, Filbert invited his fellow furry friends, such as Mick E. Moose, Wes Lee Coyote and Manny Tuba, to learn a piece of the Sharing Dance 2017 routine. Eugene Baffoe, RWB School Recreation Division faculty and one of the Sharing Dance choreographers, worked the mascots into a sweat as they jumped, pumped, and jived to a newly commissioned piece of Canadian music by Afiara Quartet & Skratch Bastid - “Heavy Loaded (Skratch Bastid Remix)” ft. Tiffany Ayalik.

We may be a tad biased, but we believe Filbert was the best dancer in the room!

What is Sharing Dance?

Sharing Dance is a Canada’s 150th Project and is a nation-wide movement aiming to approve access to quality dance education. Every Tuesday from January 17th to June 6th, the RWB will host a free dance class from 6:30-7:30 at 380 Graham Avenue.

Interested? Visit sharingdance.ca for more information or to register.

Filbert and his mascot friends; Photo: Natasha Havrilenko