Ballet Academic Program
Academic Grade 6+
The Ballet Academic Program (BAP) is a full-time, seven-level program for young artists pursing their dream of dancing professionally.
Students enter the BAP as young as 10 years of age (going into academic grade 6). They dance between 14 and 25 hours per week, depending on age level and program of study, for 11 months of the year. Students do intensive work in ballet and pointe technique and, in later levels, pas de deux and variations. They also receive a comprehensive education in character dance and modern dance, and enjoy a curriculum augmented by the study of historical dance, conditioning, music, repertoire, improvisation, choreography, visual art, dance history, creative movement, nutrition, performance enhancement, and strength-training for male students. The RWB School has forged unique partnerships with two academic schools, ensuring students are challenged and stimulated beyond the walls of our studios, thus enabling us to offer the best overall support to our student body.
Under the direction of Founding Director David Moroni C.M., O.M., D.Litt (h.c) and now current School Director Arlene Minkhorst, the RWB School has spent almost 50 years researching and studying the means to adapt the finest elements of the Russian training system for the Canadian dancer. The result is a unique curriculum that develops a versatile young artist with a strong technique and the ability to be competitive internationally. A commitment to years of slow growth and evolution are the root of this very successful method of training. The RWB School artistic faculty, educated and experienced in the practice of this system, is a key element in its success. These teachers work as a collaborative team to impart their knowledge to subsequent generations of teachers and dancers.
Performance opportunities are an integral part of students’ education in the BAP. The RWB School presents five performance series each year with the dual goal of introducing classical ballet and contemporary dance forms to new audiences across Manitoba, and providing professional dance students an opportunity to experience the demands of performance and touring first-hand. We invite guest teachers and choreographers to work with our students in the studio and to stage choreography for these performances.
A summer tradition for over 30 years, our Ballet in the Park performance series attracts approximately 20,000 Manitobans and visitors to our province to the Lyric Theatre at Assiniboine Park each year.
Our groundbreaking Concert Hour Ballet performance series sends senior students in the Ballet Academic Program around the city and across the province to share the power of dance with other school-aged children in schools and community spaces in November and December.
Our First Steps Choreography Competition began more than two decades ago when a group of School students voiced their desire for an opportunity to express themselves through choreography. Extending over a period of ten days in February and typically including upwards of 20 student choreographers, First Steps has become one of the most exciting parts of our School year.
Our Spotlight performance series in May each year showcases the work of our Professional Division student budy. Past performances have included excerpts from La Bayadere, Le Corsaire, Coppéila, Don Quixote, Carmina Burana, as well as world premieres by alumni choreographers such as Jera Wolfe and Philippe-Alexandre Jacques.
Students also have regular opportunities to perform with the RWB Company in full-length classical ballet productions as well as the RWB Ballet Ball and other special events. These RWB performances are complimented by a host of opportunities to perform for other local arts and culture organizations and at corporate galas and other special events.
Scholarships and Financial Assistance are available for new and returning students. For additional information regarding scholarships please visit rwb.org/scholarships
The rest is history, as witnessed by the long list of alumni working in the field around the world today.
RWB School Director
Arlene Minkhorst is a graduate of Canada’s National Ballet School and Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet School. She performed in numerous productions with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet Company before directing her energies to teaching full-time. Ms Minkhorst joined the faculty of the RWB School in 1979, and was appointed Director in 2004. Ms Minkhorst has taught all levels of ballet and pointe technique in the Ballet Academic Program; she has also taught in the Teacher Training Program, and has conducted rehearsals for performance. Ms Minkhorst has guest taught and adjudicated for dance festivals and competitions across Canada and the United States, and has been a member of the jury for the Youth America Grand Prix, the Prix de Lausanne, and the Japan Grand Prix.
For more information:
RWB SCHOOL OFFICE
“Training at the RWB School gave me the fortitude and discipline needed to make it as a dancer and choreographer. Without the guidance of the artistic faculty there, I would not be where I am today.”
Jera Wolfe, Kelowna BC, Aspirant Program Graduate
- Associate Artist, Red Sky Performance in Toronto
- Co-Choreographer, Backbone
- Choreographer, Miigis