Royal Winnipeg Ballet | AN INTERNATIONAL SENSATION
Company impresses prestigious Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and plans a return to Asia for its 75th Anniversary
Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet has just returned from a triumphant tour to the prestigious Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Becket, Massachusetts, America’s longest-running international dance festival and a mecca of dance for eight decades, where the Company received enthusiastic reviews and standing ovations each night.
RWB showed off its incredible talent with three diverse repertoire pieces: In Tandem by RWB alumnus Peter Quanz, an excerpt from As Above So Below by acclaimed choreographer Mark Godden, and Carmina Burana by world-renowned artist Mauricio Wainrot.
This month’s performances were RWB’s first at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in nearly 50 years. In 1964, “the Pillow” served as the platform for RWB’s launch to international renown under the direction of the late Artistic Director Emeritus Arnold Spohr. The Festival, founded in 1933 by modern dance pioneer Ted Shawn, is acclaimed for its rich history and forward-thinking international programming.
As a means to further elevate RWB’s international profile, Artistic Director André Lewis and Executive Director Jeff Herd are currently exploring plans for a tour to Asia for the Company’s 75th anniversary in 2014/15. Says Lewis, “We are very excited at the possibility to return to China after nearly a decade. For the better part of 70 years, Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet has represented our city and province throughout the world. Through our distinctions in international competitions and our world-class performances, we continue to keep Winnipeg and Manitoba on the map. We are very proud of this legacy.”
The Royal Winnipeg Ballet began touring in 1945 very shortly after its founding as it was deemed necessary to expand audiences beyond Winnipeg if the company was to survive. RWB completed its first international tour to the US in 1954. Today, the Company spends 15 or more weeks a year on the road, performing in centres large and small from the most prestigious opera houses to humble community halls. The Company travels with 24 dancers, a production crew of six and one or two semi-trailers with approximately 55,000 pounds each of equipment. In its history, the RWB has performed in a total of 581 cities in the US, South America, Europe, the Middle East, Russia, Asia, Mexico and Canada.
Recent international tours include acclaimed performances in 2010 in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa, Israel, and an extensive tour this past season of the blockbuster hit Moulin Rouge®– The Ballet to the United States, where the ballet’s cumulative attendance surpassed 100,000 appreciative audience members.