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Royal Winnipeg Ballet set for annual Portage date

Ron Thomson

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet Concert Hour Ballet is set for a stop in Portage la Prairie on Sunday at 7 p.m. at the William Glesby Centre.

Concert Hour Ballet is a touring dance group consisting of Royal Winnipeg Ballet School Professional Division senior level students. The School's standard of excellence is recognized internationally and many talented students from across Canada, the United States and abroad seek acceptance into the program.

Through its annual tours, Concert Hour Ballet allows students of the School to experience the demands of touring while bringing the excitement of a live dance performance to audiences in rural Manitoba.

The program begins with a dance demonstration and narration to introduce the audience to dance terminology, the history of ballet and a dancer's training. A fully staged and costumed performance follows. Concert Hour Ballet presents a varied program, including the classical ballets and newer, modern and jazz works.

Each dance is introduced to promote understanding and appreciation of the performance.

Katie Bonnell was a student with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and she said she loved the opportunity to perform in front of new audiences when she performed in Portage with last year's tour.

"Its so much fun," she said. "Because we're travelling, we all wake up really early and we're all grumpy in the morning, but as soon as we get where we're performing and see the audience's reaction, it's such an amazing experience." Concert Hour Ballet provides an opportunity to present young audiences with dance. Its goal is to bring the art of dance to students who would not necessarily have an opportunity to experience the performing arts. Each November, senior students in the Ballet Academic Program embark on a two-week tour through Winnipeg schools, rural communities of Manitoba and neighbouring provinces.

A unique aspect of the program is that the dancers all pitch in getting ready for the show, taking on tasks that would normally be done by a technical crew, such as laying down the dance floor, assembling and setting up the ballet barres.

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