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The Royal Winnipeg Ballet Returns!

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet returns to Halifax tonight and tomorrow for two nights of contemporary dance at the Rebecca Cohn auditorium. Recently AE spoke with the world-renowned troupe’s Artistic Director Andre Lewis.

How, when and why did you become involved with the RWB?
My girlfriend and I were travelling to Australia in the summer of 1975, and we stopped in Winnipeg and decided to do the summer school (at the RWB School Professional Division) and the rest is history. I had previously seen the Company do a mixed-repertoire performance in Ottawa, and I thought that they looked absolutely great.

What are the challenges of the profession?
The field of dance has evolved, and we have to keep up with that evolution without letting go of the traditions that have defined ballet. As an Artistic Director, the biggest challenge is to have a keen sense of balance between what the various stakeholders need, desire and want out of a ballet company – and that includes people anywhere from the choreographers, designers, supporters, funders to the audience. I think that’s always the greatest challenge to sustain the organization.

What are the rewards?
To see the work on stage, and to see the dancers rising to the occasion and thriving.

What can Atlantic Canadian audience's expect from your performances here in November?
To be moved, and to transported to another world.

From your perspective, are young people still interested in ballet?

Yes, I think they are but you have to find the works that resonate with them.

What are your thoughts on the state of ballet in Canada today?
I think ballet is still thriving, but it’s undergoing a constant evolution and we have to be ahead of that curve.

What can we be doing better to promote dance generally?
To support ballet, come and see the performances and believe in its ability to make society a better place to live, and I think you can say that for the arts in general. It’s important to support peaceful co-existence between the various arts groups that form this great nation of ours.

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium in Halifax
November 7, 8 – 8pm

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