First Steps

First Steps

First Steps

About First Steps

First Steps is an opportunity for students to explore the many facets and possibilities of movement invention and arrangement. It is a vehicle wherein students of the RWB School may discover a talent for choreography and begin to develop their own style of expression.

Senior students from the Professional Division Ballet Academic Program (Levels 5 to 7), Aspirants and Artistic faculty from both the Recreational and Professional Divisions may apply to present new works at First Steps. Student choreographers choose from among their peers the dancer(s) that they feel are best suited to their work. Occasionally, special permission is given to junior level students to choreograph and to Recreational Division students to perform.

First Steps has grown to include the entire student body of the Ballet Academic Program, comprising Levels 1 to 7. Students who do not choreograph or perform are involved in all other aspects of putting on a production, such as:

  • Presenting pre-performance improvisation
  • Working stage crew
  • Working as backstage runners
  • Ushering
  • Greeting audience as master(s) of ceremony
  • Photographers (choreographers at work), when applicable

Students choose the subject matter, length of their piece and style or dance genre. In order to accommodate numerous choreographers, each must adhere to a time limit of up to four minutes, to ensure that performances remain within a reasonable running time. Choreographers may choose to work with recorded music or live musicians and may use already existing or new compositions.

Finally, in coordination with the RWB Wardrobe Department, choreographers choose the costumes that best reflect their choreographic ideas, and with guidance from the Production Department, they design the lighting that will best support their dance.

Through First Steps, RWB School students increase their artistic sensitivity and gain awareness and respect for the creative process, giving RWB School students the tools to become responsible, professional, and open-minded young artists.

The final performances of First Steps are the culmination of this creative learning process.


At the final performance the following awards will be handed out:

1st, 2nd & 3rd Place Awards
Awarded to the choreographers whose works best demonstrate originality and promise.

The Paddy Stone Scholarship for Jazz, Tap & Musical Theatre
Awarded to the best work in the Jazz, Tap or Musical Theatre genre.

Audience members are given the opportunity to cast a vote for their favourite piece for the People’s Choice Award:

The People’s Choice Award is awarded to the choreographer whose work is voted most popular by the audience.

The following awards are selected by the RWB School Artistic faculty.

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet School Award
Awarded to the choreographer whose work best reflects the artistic style and spirit of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School.

The Doreen MacDonald Scholarship Award
Awarded to the choreographer showing considerable talent and interest in design.

The Jacqueline Weber Award for Classical Choreography
The Jacqueline Weber Award for Classical Choreography recognizes the choreographer who is the most successful in creating a work within the realm of classical ballet. The Award was established by the RWB School Profession Division Student Association on the occasion of Mrs. Weber’s retirement as Principal of the Professional Division after 40 years of dedicated service to the RWB. The Award recognizes the many ways Mrs. Weber has supported and encouraged students in their exploration of classical ballet through choreography and is selected by the jury.

First Steps Award for Innovation
Prize TBD

Prize Donors

Thank you to our generous prize donors who have donated towards the 2016 First Steps Choreographic Competition. For a full list, click here.