May is upon us, and over here we can't help but notice a spirit of invigoration along with the warmer temperatures. The sun is shining, the weather is sweet—wait, that's Bob Marley—but excitement is in the air (along with the delicious aromas of more food trucks than you can count on three hands)! Summer festivals are just around the corner; this month brings countless activities including Doors Open Winnipeg, musical theatre, comedy, new museum exhibits, stars on ice, sports, and the Backstreet Boys (!), but one thing we're lucky to have access to in the city year-round is Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet.
The RWB holds the double distinction of being Canada’s premier ballet company and one of the oldest ballet companies in North America (founded in 1939! Fun fact: 1939 was also the year Batman first appeared, and he's still awesome today, too). Versatility, technical excellence and a captivating style are the RWB's trademarks, and their dedication to all of this keeps the dancers in demand around the globe. They give more than 150 performances every season! It makes me so proud that this world-class company calls our city home. And this month, they'll be visited by the royals themselves—the Duchess of Cambridge will be stopping by the RWB on Wednesday, May 21.
This week, I'll be heading to the Mixed Programme (which you can catch May 7-10, 7:30 p.m. and May 11, 2:00 p.m. at the Centennial Concert Hall), and I couldn't be more excited. Three stunning premieres from the world's leading contemporary ballet choreographers will be featured, including The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, William Forsythe's homage to Petipa and Balanchine of Swan Lake, and The Four Seasons by James Kudelka; a rich interpretation of the journey of life. The latter has been hailed by critics a "modern masterpiece" and will be danced to Vivaldi's four violin concertos, integrating brilliant ensemble work with virtuosic solos. The third performance showcases Winnipeg's own Jorden Morris, who has created a new signature work, Défilé, which will include the entire RWB company as well as artists from the RWB School.
This performance marks the end of another stunning season, but the upcoming 2014-15 shows are going to be nothing short of spectacular. If you're mathematically challenged like me, you may not have realized that this will be the RWB's 75th season. That's pretty special, and this upcoming season will include a mix of classical favourites, such as Swan Lake and The Nutcracker, and imaginative, thought-provoking new creations like The Faerie Queen (based on the Bard's A Midsummer Night's Dream) that will tell fascinating stories and create a sense of awestruck wonder. See the full lineup and get ready for the magic here.
After this week's season finale, don't worry if you can't wait until October for the new season: you can catch the RWB at various performances throughout the summer. Celebrate the amazing talent of the rising young dancers as they present their year-end showcase In Concert May 14-17 at the Shaw Performing Arts Centre, where you won't be able to help but be moved by their infectious energy and love of dance, or check out On The Edge at the University of Winnipeg / Asper Centre for Theatre + Film, May 29 and 30. And of course, get your lawnchairs ready for July 23-25 for the always-wonderful Ballet in the Park—free, surrounded by beautiful Assiniboine Park, and a great way to spend a summer afternoon with family and friends.
We're awfully lucky to have one of the finest ballet companies in the world right here in Winnipeg, and seeing these talented dancers perform is always a treat for the imagination. Hope to see you at the Mixed Programme this week!
Only in The Peg chronicles the adventures of the Peg family–Missus, Mister and Lil' Peg - as they discover everything there is to see and do in Winnipeg. Follow them on Twitter at @tourismwpg or visit them on Facebook. For even more info on Winnipeg, visit www.tourismwinnipeg.com.
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