Ballet in the Park is a Winnipeg tradition, and a tradition of my own. It’s a chance to see my favourite ballet company perform at a beautiful local park, and spend some time outside with friends who feel the same! Life gets busy for all of us throughout the years but I always make sure that I can make it to Ballet in the Park. This year’s production was no exception- my friends and I enjoyed every minute of it, and it has been one of my favourite shows!
Ballet in the Park
I always like to get to the park around 5pm- the show doesn’t start until 7:30pm but I like to get a good spot, and I don’t often take time to just sit out and enjoy the summer weather. (It’s perfect, uninterrupted reading time!) I bring my own picnic and snacks, a few blankets, some sunscreen, and I make a night of it. Everyone has their own “thing”, and mine is ballet!
The two excerpts from The Wizard of Oz (premiering in May 2019) gave us a sneak peek into what the show is going to look and sound like. Overall, slightly off kilter but incredibly fun and mesmerising! I am guessing that these costumes are going to be some of the most striking we have seen in years. We will have to wait until the show in May but it will be worth it!
Romeo and Juliet
We also got to see the Professional Division students from the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School perform pieces from Romeo and Juliet. The main company is performing Romeo and Juliet in the winter, so it was wonderful to see the students getting to learn and dance it, as well. Romeo and Juliet is one of those ballets that everyone should see once; Shakespeare’s story combined with Prokofiev’s score makes for an amazing experience! (You can purchase tickets to the 2018-2019 season so that you can see both of these shows right here 🙂 ) The Recreational Division also performed a hip hop piece (choreographed by Eugene Baffoe)- the School offers classes in several disciplines, including jazz, hip hop, and tap.
Carmina Burana: The Background
The show finished with a complete performance of Carmina Burana, which was as spectacular as the first time I saw it! If you weren’t able to catch the original performance in May, here is a little background:
Carmina Burana is a powerful and engaging performance that ties the well known classical music of Carl Orff with the athletic and sensual choreography of Mauricio Wainrot. This performance feels all encompassing as you hear the symphony and choirs fill the room and witness a contemporary take on classical choreography in a performance that is a physical embodiment of pure emotion.
Carmina Burana: The Performance
It was interesting to see Carmina here instead of in a regular theatre- the change in lighting and music let me see the ballet in a different light. I will admit that I did spend time in the original showing watching the choir and operatic singers, because they are talented artists and contribute to the feeling of the production. However, there were recorded tracks for this production (there is nowhere to put a choir and symphony), and that allowed me to focus entirely on the dancing itself. The brighter lighting highlights the costuming choices, as well as the dancers’ technique and skill.
It can be fairly difficult to dance with the sun potentially setting in your eyes, in addition to being able to see the audience when you normally only see a darkened theatre. I admire how well the RWB dancers embrace and enjoy the different setting of Ballet in the Park! We are so lucky to have a company of this calibre here- I think I speak for all of Winnipeg when I say that we more than appreciate the things that they do for us, including Ballet in the Park!
Coming Up Next!
The Handmaid’s Tale opens the 2018-19 season on October 10th. However, the next event for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet is Barre After Hours on September 8th, a fundraising event in September! It is without a doubt one of my favourite cultural events in Winnipeg! It is always a fantastic evening, and above all a great chance to meet and chat with the RWB dancers.
Once again, all photo credits here go to the amazing Tiffany Eickenberg Photography!