The Royal Winnipeg Ballet (RWB) held its annual Scholarship Presentation Night on November 8, presenting nearly 60 scholarships at RWB’s Founders’ Studio to Canadian and international students.
The RWB School has received accolades both at home and abroad, helping students grow in their pursuit of a career as a professional ballet dancer.
They do this by offering annual scholarships to students who wish to complete their one-year dance programs – the Academic Program, the Aspirant Program, and the Teacher Training Program.
Suzanne André, director of the RWB’s professional division, said the scholarships are awarded to those who are already participating in RWB’s academic ballet programs.
“Each scholarship has its own specific criteria and they are quite varied. Based on these criteria, we are able to award scholarships to students in our program,” said André.
Andre said the Academic Ballet Program is a seven-level professional training program, where students in grades 6 and up learn skills to find careers as professional ballet dancers.
“They complete their academic learning, as well as training six days a week,” she said.
“They take a daily ballet class as well as other classes that train them to become a professional dancer.”
Unlike the academic ballet program, the aspirant and teacher training programs are post-secondary sessions.
The former is dedicated to providing high school graduates with professional training in the art of ballet, while the aspirant program is a bridge between training and a career.
“Aspirants train here with us six days a week,” André said.
“Many of them also perform in the biggest productions of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet Company.”
André said candidates gain experience to prepare for the audition process.
“They practice,” she said.
“They get performance experience and they are also helped to prepare for an audition process or a learning process.”
The Teacher Training Program is a three-year program aimed at training accredited ballet teachers.
“They take classes in terms of training techniques and pedagogy to teach different levels of ballet,” André said.
Each year, RWB School Division staff travel the United States and Canada to conduct auditions and masterclasses to find dancers for their training programs.
Students wishing to join the RWB participate in a two-tier audition.
“They can audition for us in person or they can also audition by DVD,” André said.
“The successful applicants from this first audition will come and be invited to our four-week summer session, which takes place every July.”
Participants in the summer sessions are assessed during an audition for the RWB’s full-time programs, while living the typical life of a company performer. Successful applicants are accepted into the programs.