The Royal Winnipeg Ballet Alumni Association was formed in 1989 with Margaret (Hample) Piasecki as its Founding Director. The RWB's 50th anniversary brought together generations of dancers and seeing each other after many years apart prompted a group to keep the lines of communication open for all those who had danced with the company. The Association's headquarters are housed in the Royal Winnipeg Ballet building in Winnipeg. The Association's goals are to continue communication among the alumni, support the activities of the company and school, and maintain the company's history. Through Project Vintage, the Alumni Association has set up a series of exhibits in the RWB building to educate staff, dancers and visitors on the company's history. They have collected numerous RWB posters that fill the walls of the studios and building tours are offered to visitors. The Association also produces a newsletter three times a year for its members.
This gallery is an extension of the Encyclopedia of Theatre Dance in Canada/Encyclopédie de la Danse Théâtrale au Canada project. The RWB Alumni Association was approached by DCD because it is the largest organized group of dancers in Canada. The entries here were submitted by the individual members. In future years we hope to include other groups on the DCD web site.
This page is maintained by DANCE COLLECTION DANSE in cooperation with the RWB Alumni.
Alberts, Aida Born February 23, 1933, Vancouver, British Columbia. Dancer, Teacher.
Aida studied several dance forms with well-known Vancouver teachers. These include ballet with Jean Jepson, Rosemary Deveson, Mara McBirney and Kay Armstrong; tap with Ted Cawker; national dances with Kaye Visini; and flamenco with Angel Monzon and Rosario Ancer. In the early 1950's, Aida travelled to Toronto where she danced in Gweneth Lloyd's company Ballet Interlude. From 1952-1954, Aida performed with the RWB dancing in her favourite Lloyd choreography, Finishing School (1942), as well as other ballets including Les Sylphides with Alicia Markova. Aida's career with the RWB ended in June 1954 with the terrible fire that swept through the company's studios and offices. She returned to Vancouver where she danced in television and stage productions such as the CBC's Bamboula and presentations by Theatre Under the Stars. Aida also joined her mother Mary Alberts in opening their own dance studios. Aida is a long-standing member of the Canadian Dance Teachers' Association and was CDTA President in the 1990s. She continues to teach and examine. Aida married Gary Hughesman in 1957 and had two children, Jenny and Michael.
Alis, Jill Born May 26, 1933, Swindon Wilts, England. Dancer, Teacher, Artistic Director, Choreographer, Administrator.
Jill received her ballet training in England at the Legat School of Russian Ballet. She danced for the Legat Ballet from 1950 to 1953 followed by the National Ballet of Croatia. Jill came to Canada to dance for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet during the 1955-56 season and originated the role of Jela in Nenad Lhotka's The Devil in the Village (1955). During the late 1950's, Jill spent time performing contemporary choreography by Rachel Browne, danced in productions at Rainbow Stage and taught at the Nenad Lhotka Ballet Studio. In 1969 she assumed the roles of artistic director and choreographer for the Chai Folk Ensemble, where she worked for the next thirty years. She has been active in various provincial and national dance associations: she was a cultural affairs consultant for Manitoba from 1981-1983, founded the service organization Dance Manitoba in 1984, was a board member of the Dance in Canada Association from 1985-1990, and sat on the board of the Manitoba Association of Community Arts Councils from 1988-1989. Jill has two children - Paul and Peter - and resides in Vancouver.
Barkley, Beverley Born April 21, 1934, Vancouver, British Columbia. Dancer, Teacher.
Beverley Barkley studied dance in Vancouver with notable teachers including ballet with Mara McBirney, tap with Ted Cawker and Afro-Cuban dance with Lenard Gibson. She also had the opportunity to do summer training in London at the Sadler's Wells School and in New York City at the School of American Ballet. She began her stage career in 1953 with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet performing as a soloist in works such as The Comedians (1952, 1956), Intermede (1951), Les Whoops-de-doo (1959) and Rose Latulippe (1966), which aired on television in 1967. Beverley's other television appearances include the CBC's Bamboula, which featured the work of Lenard Gibson, and Parade. Like many dancers of the time, Beverley spent her summers performing at Winnipeg's Rainbow Stage and Vancouver's Theatre Under the Stars. After leaving the RWB in 1966, she spent a brief period teaching at the Canadian School of Ballet then associated with the RWB. She returned to Vancouver where she taught for Mara McBirney, Pacific Ballet Theatre School and the Point Grey Community Centre. Beverley and her husband James Craig live in Vancouver and have three children: William, Patrick and Janine.
Buck, Diane Born June 24, 1961, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Dancer.
Diane studied ballet at many notable Winnipeg schools including the Academy of Dance with Daphne Korol and Barbara Davies; the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School with Jean McKenzie and Viola (Busday) Robertson; and the RWB's Professional Division with David Moroni, Arnold Spohr, Alla Savanchko and Galina Yordanova. She joined the Royal Winnipeg Ballet in 1981 and retired as a soloist in 1991. She is known for her interpretations of Maria in John Neumeier's Nutcracker (1971), Beth in Jacques Lemay's The Big Top (1986) and Diana Barry in Lemay's Anne of Green Gables (1989). She also danced lead roles in Nils Christe's Translucent Tones (1979), Rudi van Dantzig's Four Last Songs (1977, 1980), Vicente Nebrada's Our Waltzes (1976, 1980), Toer van Schayk's Seventh Symphony (1986), Jiri Kylian's Symphony in D (1976, 1984) and the Pas de Quatre from Giselle among others. Diane has appeared in various roles on television, film and radio plays and regularly reads local news for Voice Print for the visually impaired. She is a Registered Massage Therapist, a fitness and aquatics instructor, and a lifeguard in Winnipeg. As a visual artist she showed four of her paintings at the Norwood Art Show in 2000.
Foose, Dick Born May 13, 1936, Odessa, Texas. Dancer, Teacher, Administrator.
Dick began his training with ballet teacher Shirlee Dodge, in Austin, Texas, in 1954 and later studied modern dance with Hanya Holm. After graduating with a BFA in Theatre from the University of Texas in 1958, he made his professional debut with the Brooklyn Ballet in 1960. He joined the Royal Winnipeg Ballet in September of 1963 and then danced with The National Ballet of Canada for two seasons. Rejoining the RWB as a soloist, he originated roles in Jim Clouser's Tribute (1964), Brian Macdonald's Rose Latulippe (1966) and in Labyrinth (1968) by John Butler. He created two leading roles in Brian Macdonald's Five Over Thirteen (1970) and Ballet High (1970). He danced as a soloist with the Hamburg Stattsoper during 1971 and 1972, the Grande Theatre in Geneva from 1972 to 1973, the Festival Ballet in Starcross'd at the National Arts Centre, Ottawa in the summer of 1973, a season with the Houston Ballet '74, and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, 1974 to 1975. After retiring from the stage he became a Dance Consultant for Alberta Culture. He is married to Shirley New and lives in Edmonton.
Gibbs, Richard Born December 28, 1947, Des Moines, Iowa. Dancer, Teacher, Choreographer.
Richard Gibbs studied music, jazz dance and did summer stock as a teenager. His first serious ballet training was at the Joffrey Ballet. From there he went to the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, making his professional debut with the company in 1973. Among his roles was the Boy in Blue in Norbert Vesak's What to do Till the Messiah Comes (1973). He left the RWB in 1974 and spent four years with John Neumeier in Hamburg dancing Fritz in Neumeier's Nutcracker, the Groom in Jerome Robbins' Les Noces and the Son in Oscar Araiz's Family Scenes. He returned to the U.S. where he danced for two years as a principal with the First Chamber Dance Company. Retiring from the stage, Richard earned an MD from Yale and has been the Supervising Physician for the San Francisco Ballet since 1990 while continuing to teach at San Francisco Ballet and Marin Ballet. In 1998, Gibbs founded the Allegro Theater Company. He won the Dean Goodman Award for the choreography of Pal Joey in 1999. He is married to Dr. Tricia Gibbs. They live in Mill Valley, California, and have five children.
Grant, Margaret Born July 11, 1937, New Westminster, British Columbia. Died July 1, 1997. Dancer, Teacher.
Margaret Grant was one of the many pupils of renowned Vancouver ballet teacher Mara McBirney. In addition to training with McBirney, she received a scholarship to study at the Banff School of Fine Arts. Further training was aided by a MacMillan Scholarship. Margaret danced with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet from 1956 to 1958 where she performed in Parable (1955) – a re-choreographed version of The Wise Virgins (1942) by Gweneth Lloyd. Margaret also danced as a soloist in the Pas de Trois from Act I of Mary Skeaping's Swan Lake and she understudied the lead role in Nenad Lhotka's Devil in the Village (1955). During this time she also performed at Vancouver's Theatre Under the Stars each summer and taught at Mara McBirney's studio. After leaving the RWB, Margaret tried her luck in New York City but eventually returned to Western Canada where she taught at the studio of Sheila MacDonald and Bill McGrath. While at Theatre Under the Stars, Margie met Bob Gibson to whom she was married for thirty-seven years. The couple had two daughters: Cheryl and Cathy. Margaret died in 1997 of cancer.
Hample, Margaret Born February 1, 1927, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Died May 2007. Dancer.
Margaret Hample was a charter member of the Winnipeg Ballet and performed in the famous Royal command performance in 1939 when the organization was still known as the Winnipeg Ballet Club. She was among Gweneth Lloyd's first students in 1938 and was also among the first Canadians to earn a Solo Seal from the Royal Academy of Dancing in 1948. Margaret's additional training took place in England and New York with teachers such as Vera Volkova and Audrey de Vos. Until her retirement from performing in 1958, Margaret had many roles created for her including several Lloyd ballets: she was "Water" in Kilowatt Magic (1939), the "Apprentice" in The Wager (1940), "Beauty" in Beauty and the Beast (1941), "A Maiden" in Dionysos (1945) and "Tragedy" in Visages (1949), which premiered at the Second Canadian Ballet Festival. Other performance experience includes television, films and carbarets in London, England, as well as television and Rainbow Stage performances in Winnipeg. In 1989, Margaret founded the RWB Alumni Association and continued as its director until her death. She and her husband John Piasecki have three children: Mia, Della and Jon.
Ivings, Beverley Born August 1, 1933, Victoria, British Columbia. Dancer.
Beverley Ivings studied ballet for eleven years with Victoria teacher Wynne Shaw. She gained professional experience performing on the stages of the Starlight Theatre in Victoria and Theatre Under the Stars in Vancouver where she had leading roles. She also competed in the B.C. Dance Festivals winning the June Roper trophy and scholarships twice. She made her Winnipeg Ballet debut in 1951 at the Command performance for Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh. She remained with the company until 1954 and performed with them at the Fourth Canadian Ballet Festival held in Toronto in 1952. Among the ballets she performed are Arnold Spohr's Intermede (1951) and Ballet Premier (1950), and Gweneth Lloyd's Shadow on the Prairie (1952), Arabesque (1949), Finishing School (1942), Concerto (1947), Romance (1949) and The Wise Virgins (1942). She also appeared in the film versions of Ballet Premier and Shadow on the Prairie. Beverley eventually returned to Victoria where she lives with her husband John Johnson; they have two children, Michael and Kathryn.
Russell, Colin Born Naudybwch, South Wales, UK. Dancer, Teacher, Choreographer.
Colin Russell danced with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet during the 1962-63 season performing roles in Agnes deMille's The Bitter Weird (1962), James Clouser's Recurrence (1961) and Ruthanna Boris' The Comedians (1952, 1956). However, his association with the RWB does not end there, Colin taught in the school's Professional and General Divisions in 1971-72. He also spent time in Winnipeg teaching at the Nenad Lhotka Academy and performing in Rainbow Stage Productions. After training with Marie Rambert and Nadine Nicoleava-Legat, Colin's dance career began in the early 1950's and it has taken him to forty-six countries. He has danced for such companies as the Carlton, Legat and Pavinoff Ballet, Irish National Ballet, Sadler's Wells Opera Ballet and San Jose Dance Theatre. He directed the National Ballet School of Iceland, and has taught at a large number of schools and companies including Batdor Dance Company and Indiana University. Colin has choreographed for Lebanese television, North Netherlands Dance Theatre, Indianapolis Ballet Theatre and the Memphis Ballet Company, among others.
Shapiro, Shelly Born August 23, 1937, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Dancer.
Born and raised in Winnipeg, Shelley received all of her dance training from Gweneth Lloyd and Betty Farrally at the Canadian School of Ballet. She made her Winnipeg Ballet debut at the age of ten in 1947 and continued to perform with the company until 1954.
While at the Winnipeg Ballet, Shelly danced as a cygnet in Swan Lake, corps de ballet roles in Gweneth Lloyd's Concerto (1947), Romance (1949), Finishing School (1942) and Les Sylphides. She also performed as a Foolish Virgin in Gweneth Lloyd's The Wise Virgins (1942), a Child in Lloyd's Pleasure Cruise (1946) and Spring in Seasons.
Shelly continues to live in Winnipeg where she is married and has two children, Jeff and Marnie.
Stanley-Harris (Korol), Daphne Born August 5, 1924, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Dancer, Teacher, Actor, Director, Choreographer.
Daphne Stanley-Harris has led a busy career in both dance and theatre. Among her ballet teachers are Gweneth Lloyd, Betty Farrally, Arnold Spohr and Mara McBirney; Daphne also studied tap, flamenco, mime and acting. She began her career in Argentina dancing with the deBasil Ballet Russe at the Teatro Colon Opera House. Daphne danced with the Winnipeg Ballet from 1952 to 1954 and also performed in productions at Rainbow Stage. She eventually attained her Advanced Certificate from the Royal Academy of Dancing and has spent forty years as a ballet and tap teacher at her Winnipeg school. In 1986, Daphne founded the Assiniboine Theatre Inc. and its Shakespeare in the Park productions. She has directed several of Shakespeare's plays for this series as well as the plays of Ionesco and Sartre for the Winnipeg Fringe Festival. She has performed supporting roles in several Canadian films and has acted in productions by Assiniboine Theatre Inc., Stage West and Manitoba Theatre Centre, among others. Daphne and her late husband, Taras Korol, had one son, Ivan.
Starrett, William Born Palm Springs, California. Dancer, Artistic Director, Choreographer.
William entered the Professional Division of the School of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet in the 1960's, two years after beginning his dance studies at Ballet Celeste in San Francisco. He danced with the RWB from 1973 to 1976 and rose through the ranks to principal dancer. After moving to New York City he danced with the Joffrey Ballet and American Ballet Theatre. He then began a career as a free-lance dancer jet-setting around the world at a furious pace. In 1995 arthritis in his hips forced him to retire from dancing; however, in February 1999, he returned to the stage as Prince Charming in Cinderella after undergoing bi-lateral hip replacement surgery seven months earlier. He has been the artistic director of the Columbia City Ballet in South Carolina since 1986 and began to choreograph in 1988. Among his own works are Snow White, Don Juan, A Tribute to Fred Astaire, Dracula, Aladdin and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. William received the Key to the City of Singapore in 1981. He is the founding director and a principal faculty member of the Columbia Conservatory of Dance and founder of the AIDS Benefit Foundation of South Carolina.
Williams, Anthony Born June 11, 1946, Naples, Italy. Dancer, Teacher.
Anthony Williams' primary dance education occurred in Boston and New York City, but he also received ballet training in Winnipeg with Frank Bourman and Arnold Spohr. His performing career began in 1964 as a charter member of the Boston Ballet where he danced until 1976 while taking intermittent leaves to dance with the Joffrey Ballet (1967-1970), the Royal Winnipeg Ballet (1973-1976) and the Gulbenkian Ballet of Portugal (1973). Tony has also worked with the Boston Repertory Ballet (1978-1981) and the National Ballet of Norway (1981-1982). His roles at the RWB include the Head Wrangler in Agnes De Mille's Rodeo (1942, 1973), the Minister in her Fall River Legend (1948, 1969), Oscar Araiz's Adagietto (1971, 1974) and Le Sacre du Printemps (1966, 1975), and John Neumeier's Rondo (1970, 1971). In 1978 he began an extensive teaching career and has since taught at Boston Repertory Ballet School, Wellesley College, Boston Conservatory, Boston Ballet School and Walnut Hill School. Williams is the founder of the Jamaica Plain School of Dance and Ballet Rox, and the co-founder of the Ballet Theatre of Boston. He currently lives in Jamaica Plain, Massachussets, and has three sons: Alexander, Jeremy and Spencer.
Young, Marilyn Born July 26, 1936, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Dancer.
Marilyn Young began ballet studies in 1942 with Gweneth Lloyd and Betty Farrally. Other training includes the Banff School of Fine Arts, the New York City Ballet School and classes with Robert Joffrey. While training, Marilyn occasionally danced with the Winnipeg Ballet; her first role was The Sister in Lloyd's Finishing School (1942). She also joined the company for its 1950 Western Tour and the 1951 Royal Command Performance for Princess Elizabeth. Marilyn made her official Winnipeg Ballet debut in June 1953 and became a principal dancer in 1955. She originated many roles in the RWB repertoire including Benjamin Harkarvy's The Twisted Heart (1957), Paddy Stone's Clasico (1955), Brian Macdonald's Les Whoops-de-doo (1959), Michel Conte's Variations for a Lonely Theme (1960), Robert Moulton's Grasslands (1958), Ruthanna Boris' Pasticcio (1956) and Arnold Spohr's E Minor (1958). Film and television performances include Lloyd's Shadow on the Prairie (1952) and Agnes DeMille's The Bitter Weird (1964). She retired from performing in 1964 and has continued to make Winnipeg her home. She married Grant Marshall in 1959 and they have two daughters: Alix and Kirsten.
For more information about the Alumni Association contact:
RWB Alumni Association
c/o Royal Winnipeg Ballet
380 Graham St. Winnipeg, MB R3C 4K2
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