Lloyd, Gweneth

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Lloyd, Gweneth

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1901-1993

History

Gweneth Lloyd was born in Eccles, four miles west of Manchester, England, on September 15, 1901. Her education began at Perse School in Cambridge, but did not begin to take dancing seriously until she attended Northwood College. After graduation, she studied gymnastics at Liverpool Physical Training College, which got her a position at the Jersey Ladies’ College in St. Helier two years later. While she was teaching, she also continued her dance classes and enrolled as a student teacher at the Ginner-Mawer School. In 1927, she and Doris McBride opened their own school in Leeds. It was here that she met Betty Farrally, one of her students, who would accompany her to Canada in 1938.
Shortly after her arrival in Winnipeg, she established the Canadian School of Ballet at 333 Portage Avenue and soon afterwards founded the Winnipeg Ballet Club, which offered free tuition for those students accepted. The first performance of the Winnipeg Ballet Club was part of a production to celebrate the visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in May of 1939, which featured Kilowatt Magic and Grain, both choreographed by Gweneth. She choreographed a total of thirty-six ballets for the Winnipeg Ballet. In 1949, she received the official title of Director of Ballet, but left Winnipeg on October 3, 1950 for Toronto. She retained the title of director, however, until 1957. In Toronto, she established another branch of the Canadian School of Ballet, formed the short-lived Toronto Festival Dancers, and continued to choreograph. She joined Betty Farrally in British Columbia in 1958, where they opened a branch of the Canadian School of Ballet in Kelowna. Lloyd continued to teach throughout British Columbia, choreographed for Kelowna Little Theatre and Vernon Little Theatre and was also an examiner for the Royal Academy of Dancing (RAD).
During her lifetime, Gweneth received many awards: the Centennial Medal in 1967; an Honorary degree from the University of Calgary and the Order of Canada in 1969; the Civic Achievement Medal from the City of Winnipeg in 1977; The Fellowship Award from the RAD in 1979; the Dance Canada Award in 1984; the Royal Bank Award in 1987; the Diplôme d’honneur from the Canadian Conference for the Arts in 1989; and the 1992 Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement. Gweneth Lloyd passed away on January 1, 1993 in Kelowna, British Columbia.

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