The Aspirant Program is a full-time, two-year post-secondary training program for advanced level classical ballet dancers who are making the transition from student to professional dancer.
Aspirant Program Director Stephane Leonard has designed the program to challenge and develop emerging artists. He provides dancers with specially designed classes in ballet and pointe technique, modern, and classical variations, as well as the opportunity work with new and established choreographers and to create new work of their own. He also works with dancers individually to prepare audition photos and videos, and supports them with audition applications and other logistics.
The Aspirant Program has many advantages, the most important being the close, daily contact relationship with the world renowned RWB Company. Aspirants attend Company class and are frequently cast in the Company’s full-length classical ballet productions, both in Winnipeg and on tour.
On the Edge, the Aspirant Program’s annual showcase performance, highlights the incredible talent within the student body and provides local audiences with an opportunity to see the stars of tomorrow today in an intimate and interactive setting. Aspirants also participate in a wide variety of local productions and performances throughout the year with organizations such as the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and Prairie Theatre Exchange. Dancers may also gain experience performing in various media productions, such as videos and films.
Alumni of the program enrolled at the University of Winnipeg can have their studio and course work recognized by the Faculty of Theatre and Film with up to 18 credit hours towards their degree.
Mr. Léonard began training in Montreal under the tutelage and mentorship of Ms N. Izbinsky and continued at the prestigious Vaganova Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia. Following his graduation in 1993, Mr. Léonard made his professional debut with the National Ballet of Canada under the direction of Mr. Reid Anderson. In 1995, Mr. Leonard joined the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory Ballet and Operaunder the direction of Mr. Nikita Dolgushin. In 1998, Mr. Léonard returned to Canada to join the RWB Company where he performed for many years. After his retirement from the RWB Company in 2002, he assumed the position of Aspirant Program Director at Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet School.
For more information:
Director, Aspirant Program
“[The RWB School Aspirant Program] is the best preparation for becoming a professional dancer because you have the opportunity to apply you learned in school in a Company setting. You grow into an artist that Companies will want to hire.”
Philippe Alexandre-Jacques, Ottawa ON, Aspirant Program Graduate
- Choreographer, RWB
- Choreographer, Sesqui/Canada 150