September Company Spotlight

Sep 28 2015 | Posted in Company Spotlight

The RWB hosts Dance Downtown Plus and participates in Nuit Blanche for the first time

Company Dancer Katie Bonnell with cute ballerinas
Company Dancer Katie Bonnell with cute ballerinas

As part of Culture Days, Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet participated in Nuit Blanche on Saturday, September 26 and presented Dance Downtown Plus on Sunday, September 27. The RWB hosted a variety of performances and visual artists. The evening kicked off with an energetic and fiery performance of Fire Sol, Anamorphic Ground Art with Charles Johnston, art projection installation with Intersection, and capped off with performances from belly dancer Beth Syrnyk and Lazos Spanish Dancers.

RWB’s annual offering for Culture Days became Dance Downtown Plus. On Sunday, September 27, the Art City, Manitoba Opera, Rainbow Stage and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra joined forces with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet to feature interactive workshops and activities for all ages. The day included dancing, singing, acting, music instrument trials and arts workshops, along with costumes and pointe shoes try-ons.

These events coincided with Culture Days, an annual, collaborative coast-to-coast-to-coast volunteer movement to raise the awareness, accessibility, participation and engagement of Canadians in the arts and cultural life of their communities.

Evelyn Hart returns to Winnipeg and coaches RWB dancers

Company Dancer Jo-Ann Sundermeier with former Principal Dancer Evelyn Hart; Photo by Maria Neufeld
Company Dancer Jo-Ann Sundermeier with former Principal Dancer Evelyn Hart; Photo by Maria Neufeld

Evelyn Hart has returned to the Royal Winnipeg Ballet for the 76th season opener of Giselle. Hart, an iconic former RWB Principal dancer, is offering dancers the rare opportunity to receive coaching and guidance. Hart performed in the RWB’s first full-length production of Giselle in 1982 and her exceptional skill and grace on stage made it one of the former prima ballerina’s defining role. Since that performance, Giselle has been added to one of Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s crown jewels of repertoires.

“Giselle was Evelyn’s role. When anyone thinks of the RWB and Evelyn Hart, they think of Giselle,” says Jo-Ann Sundermeier, current RWB principal dancer. “It’s a little intimidating that Evelyn is coming back to the RWB, but at the same time it’s something that I really want; that little bit of time to get feedback and learn from her. I will definitely soak up anything she gives me and take it to heart.”

In addition to coaching and mentoring the RWB dancers, Hart will also make an on stage appearance in the role of Berthe, Giselle’s mother – an opportunity that many won’t want to miss.

Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s Giselle runs from September 30 – October 4 at the Centennial Concert Hall. For tickets and information, visit rwb.org.

The RWB kicks off for its European tour of Moulin Rouge® – The Ballet

Company Dancers in rehearsal for Giselle, 2015; Photo by Maria Neufeld
Company Dancers in rehearsal for Giselle, 2015; Photo by Maria Neufeld

The RWB’s dancers will be jetting off to Europe the morning after Giselle’s final performance. The European Tour will be the RWB first time performing in Rome. Along with Italy, the tour will also have stops in Germany and The Netherlands.

You can help support the RWB/s European Tour by donating: DONATE

Moulin Rouge® – The Ballet has been seen by over 100,000 people across North America and has elicited cheers and ovations wherever it tours. Along with a rousing French soundtrack, the ballet features high-kicking choreography and a passionate story of love, ambition and heartbreak.

The RWB Professional Division Audition Tour begins this fall!

Company Dancer Sophia Lee; Photo by David Cooper
Company Dancer Sophia Lee; Photo by David Cooper

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s 2015-16 Professional Division Audition Tour takes off this fall with auditions held in fourteen cities across Canada with one stop in the United States. Every student with a dream to dance or teach professionally is encouraged to attend. Students who are accepted through the audition to participate in the Professional Division Summer Session have another opportunity to be accepted into the Ballet Academic Program. Many of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s company dancers got their start through the Ballet Academic Program.

Korean-born talent, Sophia Lee is the newest Principal Dancer in the renowned Royal Winnipeg Ballet Company. Lee’s entire dance and professional training career has been with the RWB and RWB School’s Professional Division. Upon graduation from the Ballet Academic Program, she spent only one year in the School’s Aspirant program before being promoted directly into the Corps de Ballet in 2011. In spring 2015 she was promoted to Principal Dancer. Lee has gone on to perform leading roles including Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, Annie in the critically acclaimed Going Home Star – Truth and Reconciliation, Juliet in Romeo + Juliet, and Clara in Nutcracker.

As the Professional Division embarks on the 2015/16 Audition Tour, Lee reflects on how it all started for her. Lee wants aspiring dancers to know she’s been in their shoes. “I know students will probably feel nervous and are already putting pressure on themselves to do well during the audition, but the most important thing to do is smile and breathe. I still think of that when I step onto the stage and there are hundreds in the audience.”

Paul Taylor Dance Company comes to the RWB

Paul Taylor Dance Company
Paul Taylor Dance Company

The world-renowned Paul Taylor Dance Company is making its Winnipeg debut with three powerful works this November. Hailed as the world’s most important living choreographer, Paul Taylor’s meticulous choreography is inspired by influential themes in modern society - such as war, spirituality, sexuality, and morality – while using his signature youthful, light-hearted and optimistic approach on these themes and exploring the beauty of movement.

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to see the Paul Taylor Dance Company on the RWB stage. Visit rwb.org for show information and to purchase tickets. Performances will be held at the Pantages Playhouse Theatre from Nov 13-15.