So you think you can dance? Or maybe you’ve always wanted to try? Well, it might be your time. For the fourth year the Royal Winnipeg Ballet (RWB) School and Canada’s National Ballet School (NBS) want you to take part in Sharing Dance, a nation-wide movement aiming to improve access to quality dance education for the health of all Canadians. This year, the RWB School is proud to offer free dance classes in two Winnipeg locations.
Every Tuesday from January 30-May 29, FREE dance classes will take place at the RWB at 380 Graham Avenue and the University of Winnipeg Axworthy Health and RecPlex at 350 Spence Street. Lisa Brooks, with the RWB School Recreational Division, will lead the classes geared towards families (ages 6+) and adults of all ages. Classes take place from 6:40 PM-7:40 PM.
Older children and teenagers (ages 10-15_) are invited to the classes at the U of W Axworthy Health and RecPlex and take place from 5 PM-6 PM, taught by Jaime Vargas, RWB ballet master and community outreach coordinator.
Sharing Dance classes are in preparation for the nation-wide Sharing Dance Day on June 1. Presented by Shaw Communications and funded in part by the Government of Canada, Sharing Dance Day is a public celebration of dance in Canada with a host of live performances leading up to the big finale when participants share this year’s choreography. Sharing Dance classes are a hip-hop contemporary fusion-style class. As Sharing Dance Day draws closer, the classes begin learning the specific Sharing Dance choreography. The routine will be available online to learn at home in early February.
Earth’s natural elements and the art of dance go hand-in-hand for this year’s Sharing Dance choreography theme: environmental stewardship. This year’s choreographers, Eugene Baffoe, or GeNie (as he’s known in the Winnipeg hip hop community) and Michelle Olson came together to create a unique piece of choreography that uses creative movement to tell a story about the relationship between humankind and the environment that surrounds us.
Olson is a member of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation (Yukon) and the Artistic Director of Raven Spirit Dance. Olson studied dance at the University of New Mexico, Banff Centre for the Arts in Aboriginal Dance and furthered her performance training with Full Circle First Nations as an Ensemble member. Olson works in areas of dance, theatre and opera as a choreographer, performer and movement coach and her work has been seen on stages across Canada.
Baffoe is the artistic director of B.O.S.S Dance Team, a freestyle battle dancer, and teacher in the RWB School Recreational Division. Trained in hip hop for over a decade, Baffoe has been teaching, choreographing, and directing at a professional level for more than eight years.
“I am honored to once again be one of this year’s choreographers for the official Sharing Dance routine,�? said Baffoe. “This year I teamed up with the incredible Michelle Olson for what we believe to be an inspiring piece that addresses a topic near and dear to all of us: our planet. The piece explores the radical changes of our environment, climate and seasons, and our role in it all. What we have done, what we are doing, and what we can do to bring harmony back to it all.”
The music for this year’s routine was created by Eugene Draw, Jeff Antoine Cote, Marie Michelle Beausoleil, and Scott Jackson. Before launching the choreography, NBS is hosting a “Name That Tune�? contest where the public votes between four options to name the song. Click here to hear a clip of the track and song title shortlist. Vote for your favourite by commenting below!
FREE Sharing Dance classes will open for registration forty-five minutes before the start of the first class. Participants are invited to fill out a registration form in person before class.
Click here for this year’s Sharing Dance poster and here for last year’s Sharing Dance Day video. To learn more about Sharing Dance, please visit rwb.org/sharingdance, sharingdance.ca, or call the RWB School Office at 204-957-3467.
The RWB School gratefully acknowledges Sharing Dance’s National Program Supporter: Scotia Bank and Canadian Tire Jumpstart and Community Partners: The Axworthy Health & RecPlex Community Charter Fund, Thomas Sill Foundation, and Johnston Group.