Celebrating generations of artists and employees who have contributed to the RWB and Canada's cultural history
The Alumni Association, housed in the Royal Winnipeg Ballet building, was a project conceived as Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in 1989.
At the celebration of this anniversary, generations of artists and employees discussed the contributions of the RWB to Canada’s cultural history, Winnipeg’s local community and the dance community at large. Thus the decision was made in 1989 to capture and solidify the memorable contributions of many to the organization.
The Alumni Association, which was formalized in 91/92, now does the important work of supporting communication among alumni and current dancers. It has nurtured activities within the School and the Company to ensure that past, present and future members and friends are able to enjoy the legacy created for years to come.
The aims of the Association include preservation of the art form, documentation of past works and maintaining connections built across generations of dancers.
With the Alumni initiative, Project Vintage, began the production and assembly of display cases throughout the RWB building that made our proud dance heritage and legacy visible. The framing and hanging of posters throughout the building is ongoing, with current poster inventory showcasing more than 450 images. It has served to educate staff, dancers, students and visitors about the company’s enduring history.
Also, in 1991, discussions began to preserve the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s heritage through the development of the Company’s Archives. In 1994, the Association connected with AMA (Association for Manitoba Archives) by individual membership, and became an Association Member in 2004.
In 1998, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet Board authorized that “the Archives be established as an official project of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet Alumni Association with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet being recognized as the parent organization” by the amendment of Bylaw 1B, May 25,1998.
On February 1, 2009 a motion was approved by the Board of Directors to accept the mandate and acquisition policies regarding the RWB Archives.
With our membership directory being updated annually, the Association currently has 119 active members, worldwide.
The Association’s past and current activities include:
- Successful organization of the 60th, 65th, 70th and 75th reunions and a special luncheon for the retirement of Arnold Spohr in 1988
- Sponsorship of a Company dinner/wine & cheese event prior to one performance of the season
- Support of our students through the provision of two scholarships annually to recipients within the Professional Division School
- Alumni Association members and volunteers organize and sell ballet costume designs and sketches as well as posters, CDs, jewelry made from repurposed silverware and wearable “doodle” art at the performances to help raise funds for our scholarships
- Support of the history and legacy of Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet through memberships and fundraising.
- In 2009 we received a grant from the Winnipeg Foundation for the Archive Project
- Alumni Association made a $20,000 donation to the Company, to encourage the digital recovery and transfer of archival films, tapes and audio-visual materials for preservation purposes
- Preparation and release of the newsletter, UPDATE, three times per year
- Membership Directory is updated and published annually, early in the year.
Our Current Challenge:
- The archival focus has been primarily paper and photos; however, the video library is of special concern. The Royal Winnipeg Ballet currently houses a wealth of historic dance videos. As these materials age, their quality is compromised. As such, an initiative has begun to preserve the integrity of this footage by transferring the video to a digital format.
- Raising funds to maintain our annual scholarship donations
If you have an interest in contributing to this cultural collective, new members are always welcome. We look forward to hearing from all past employees of the RWB.
Annual dues are $25.00 Canadian.
Please contact the Alumni Association at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to us at:
RWB Alumni Association, 380 Graham Avenue, Winnipeg, MB. Canada R3C 4K2