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authority records
Royal Winnipeg Ballet

Aiello, Salvatore

  • BD; PHA
  • Person
  • 1944-1995

Salvatore Aiello was born in Herkimer, New York. He starting tap and modern dance at the age of seven and began ballet at the age of fifteen. He joined the American Festival Ballet Company, and after college graduation and training at the Boston Conservatory of Music, he joined the Joffrey Ballet. He became a charter member and soloist for the Harkness Ballet after Joffrey folded. He performed with the Harkness Ballet for five years and then was principal dancer for the Andre Eglevsky Ballet. During this time he also taught jazz and classic dance and choreographed his first piece, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, for children.
He performed as a guest artist with the Ballet Celeste and the Alvin Ailey Company before joining the Royal Winnipeg Ballet in 1971 as a soloist. He became principal dancer the following year. He left to dance with the Hamburg State Opera Ballet in 1973, but returned to the Royal Winnipeg Ballet in 1975. In 1977, he also held the position of regisseur. The following year he became one of three Associate Artistic Directors at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, but left in 1979 to become Associate Director / Ballet Master and resident choreographer at the North Carolina Dance Theatre. He was promoted to Artistic Director in 1985, and held that position until his death on October 14, 1995 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Alberts, Aida

  • BD; PHD
  • Person
  • 1933 -

Aida Alberts was born February 23, 1933 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her dance training began in Vancouver and in the early 1950’s she moved to Toronto to dance with the Ballet Interlude at the Canadian School of Ballet. She joined the Royal Winnipeg Ballet in 1953 as a member of the corps de ballet. She returned to Vancouver after the fire that destroyed the RWB building in June of 1954, where she performed for television and stage productions. She and her mother Mary Alberts later opened their own dance studios. She married Gary Hughesman in 1957. She belonged to the Canadian Dance Teachers’ Association and served as its president in the 1990s. Aida Alberts Hughesman most recently taught Ballet/Musical Theatre/Spanish Dance at the Maple Ridge Seniors Activity Centre in British Columbia.

Ashton, Frederick

  • BA
  • Person
  • 1904 - 1988

Frederick William Mallandaine Ashton was born September 17, 1904 in Guayaquil, Equador. He studied dance with Leonide Fedorovich Massine and Dame Marie Rambert. His choreographic work was A Tragedy of Fashion, which was created in 1926 for a Hammersmith revue. He danced with the Rubinstein Company from 1928 to 1929, but afterwards chose to continue his choreographic career and choreographed for Ballet Club and Camargo Society until he became the chief choreographer of the Vic-Wells Ballet in 1935. He was appointed its associate director in 1952 and served as the director from 1963 until his retirement in 1970. He has also choreographed for the films Tales of Hoffman and Tales of Beatrix Potter.
The Royal Winnipeg Ballet has five of his ballets in their repertoire. These include Les Patineurs, Façade, The Dream, Five Brahms Waltzes in the Manner of Isabella Duncan, and Thaïs. He received the Order of the British Empire in 1950, and was knighted in 1962. Britain also awarded him a Companion of Honour in 1970, the Order of Merit in 1977, and the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award from the Royal Academy of Dance in 1959. He also received the Legion of Honour from France, in 1960 and the Order of Dannebrog from Denmark, in 1964. Honorary doctorates were conferred on him from the universities of Durham, East Anglia, London , Hull, and Oxford . Sir Frederick Ashton passed away August 18, 1988 in Eye, Suffolk, England.

Bacall, Teresa

  • BD; PHD; PF13
  • Person
  • [1947] - present

Teresa Bickle was born in Escondito, California. She was a scholarship student with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet from 1966 to 1969 before joining the Royal Winnipeg Ballet as a member of the corps de ballet, changing her name to Bacall. She was promoted to soloist in 1970. From 1972 to 1973, she performed with the Pennsylvania Ballet Company. She left Pennsylvania to be a principal dancer with the Basler Stadt Theatre in Basel, Switzerland until 1977, when she became a principal dancer for the San Diego Ballet. She returned to the Royal Winnipeg Ballet in 1980 as a principal dancer. An injury in 1982 forced her to retire the following year. She is currently a jewelry designer for Echo Creations in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Ban, Yayoi

  • BD; PHD
  • Person
  • [1980s] - present

Yayoi Ezawa was born in Chiba, Japan and began her dance training at the age of nine at the Rei Classical Ballet Institute and the Momoko Tani Ballet before joining the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School Professional Division in 2001. After completing two years in the Aspirant Program, she joined the Company as an Apprentice in 2005. She was promoted to the corps de ballet the following year. She became a Second Soloist in 2012 and was promoted to First Soloist in 2014. After her marriage in 2013, her name changed to Yayoi Ban.

Bennet, Susan

  • BD; PHD
  • Person
  • 1955-present

Susan Bennet was born in Ottawa, Ontario. She began her ballet training at the age of five. She continued her dance training at the York University Dance Theatre, Nesta Toumine’s Dance School and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School Professional Division. She made her professional debut with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet in 1976, the same year she joined its corps de ballet. She was promoted to first soloist in 1979. After her retirement in 1987, she served as an Administrative Assistant with the Manitoba Theatre Centre and was the Volunteer Co-ordinator for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

Birtwhistle, Tara

  • BD; PHA
  • Person
  • 1972 - present

Tara Birtwhistle was born in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her dance training began at the Sherwood Park School of Dance and the Red Deer School of Ballet. She was accepted into the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School Professional Division in 1986. After graduation in 1991, she joined the Royal Winnipeg Ballet as a member of the corps de ballet. She was promoted to soloist in 1995 and became a principal dancer in 2000. When she retired in 2011, she remained with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet as a Ballet Mistress. She was appointed Associate Artistic Director in 2018.

Bonnell, Katie

  • BD
  • Person
  • [1991] - present

Katie Bonnell was born in Oakville, Ontario. She started dancing with The Fleming School of Performing Arts and Balletomane before beginning her training at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School Professional Division in 2008. She joined the Aspirant Program in 2011 was accepted into the RWB Company as an Apprentice in 2013. During this time, she also participated in Summer Intensive programmes in Banff, Jacob’s Pillow and the New Zealand School of Dance. She joined the corps de ballet in 2015 and was promoted to second soloist in 2019.

Brierton, Ross

  • BD
  • Person
  • [1958] - present

Ross Brierton was born in Glasgow, Scotland and moved to London, Ontario with his family at the age of seven. He began his dance training after his swimming coach encouraged him to do so. He attended the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School Professional Division for two years. After graduation in 1979, he joined the Royal Winnipeg Ballet as a member of the corps de ballet. During this time, Ross began to choreograph. The Saskatchewan Theatre Ballet first performed one of his works in 1983. He left the Royal Winnipeg Ballet in 1984 to attend the Royal Academy of Dancing’s Professional Dancers Teaching Course in London, England. He became the youngest male Canadian to graduate from the programme. The following year, he returned to the Royal Winnipeg Ballet as a teacher for the General Division and as Professional Division Coordinator. He later joined the Alberta Ballet School, becoming principal of the school and artistic director of the school's performing company, Dance Alberta. Ross Brierton then taught ballet on a freelance basis and traveled internationally as a guest teacher and adjudicator. He served as International Adviser for the Americas to the Royal Academy of Dance’s Board of Trustees in London, England. He is now retired.

Butler, John

  • BA; PHA
  • Person
  • 1920-1993

John Butler was born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1920 and was raised in Greenwood, Mississippi. At the age of eighteen, he was offered a scholarship to work with Martha Graham, who insisted that he also join the School of American Ballet. He first performed on Broadway in 1943 and continued to perform on Broadway and in New York night clubs during and after the time he danced with the Martha Graham Dance Company between 1945 and 1955. He also began choreographing dance performances for television. He later worked for the New York City Opera and the Metropolitan Opera. During this time, he also founded the John Butler Dance Theatre. He was named the dance director of the Spoleto Festival of Two Worlds in 1958. The John Butler Dance Theatre disbanded about ten years later and John became a freelance choreographer. The Royal Winnipeg Ballet has performed several of his ballets, including Labyrinth, and Sebastian. He received a Dance Magazine Award in 1965. John Butler passed away in September of 1993 in Manhattan, New York.

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