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The Royal Winnipeg Ballet, based in Winnipegmarker, Manitobamarker, is Canadamarker's oldest ballet company and the longest continuously operating ballet company in North America.

It was founded in 1939 as the "Winnipeg Ballet Club" by Gweneth Lloyd and Betty Farrally. The name was changed to the "Winnipeg Ballet" in 1941 and the company began touring Canada in 1945. In 1948, with the initiative of the Winnipeg Ballet, the Canadian Ballet Festival was formed.

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet was granted its royal title in 1953, the first granted under the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. It completed its first American tour in 1954. In June that year the RWB's rented premises were devastated by fire; the company's entire stock of costumes, original music, choreographic scores and sets was destroyed.

Today, the company spends 20 or more weeks a year on the road, presenting more than 100 performances every year in centres large and small. The company also mounts four productions a year in Winnipeg's premier performing arts venue, the Centennial Concert Hall. The company solidified its reputation under the artistic directorship of Arnold Spohr from 1958 to 1988. André Lewis is the current artistic director; he was appointed in 1996.

The dancer most associated with the RWB has been Evelyn Hart. Born in Toronto, Ontariomarker, in 1956, she made her professional debut with the RWB in 1976. In 1980 she was awarded the bronze medal at the World Ballet Concours in Japan,and the gold medal at the prestigious International Competition in Varna, Bulgariamarker, where she also received the Exceptional Artistic Achievement Award. She was awarded the Order of Canada in 1983. She left the RWB in 2005.

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, Professional Division is an exclusive, full-time classical ballet training program for students in grades 6 through 12. The school includes approximately 70 young dancers, selected from around the world, and graduates have international careers in top companies in Canada and abroad. The current building opened in January, 1988.

In 2002, The Royal Winnipeg Ballet's interpretation of the story of Dracula, choreographed by Mark Godden, was filmed in a made for television titled Dracula: Pages from a Virgin's Diary directed by Guy Maddin. The film eventually was released theatrically.


principal dancers


second soloists

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