(photo credit: Courtesy)
It is always a treat to see work by someone who is considered a master in his or her field. This week, The Royal Winnipeg Ballet will present that opportunity to Israeli dance audiences. The 28 RWB dancers will perform a split program, featuring one work by Maurice Wainrot, a master in the ballet world, and the other by Peter Quantz, an emerging choreographer. As part of Tel Aviv Dance 2010, the company will present Wainrot’s Carmina Burana to the well-known score by Carl Orff and In Tandem by Quantz.
The RWB is a major dance institution in Canada. Along with its performances, the company runs an excellent school, where the next generation of professional ballet dancers are trained. For the past 16 years, Andre Lewis has served as the artistic director of this fine establishment.
Under Lewis’s leadership, the dancers of the RWB have had the opportunity to work with many international choreographers who have been invited to set pieces for the troupe. Carmina Burana was originally created for The Royal Ballet of Flanders, where Wainrot was a guest choreographer. In 2002, the RWB added the piece to its rich repertoire.
Wainrot is not stranger to Israel or to Canada. Born in Buenos Aires to
Jewish parents who narrowly escaped Poland before the war, Wainrot found
his forte as a dancer quite early. He danced for several companies in
Argentina before making his way to Canada, where he was a guest
performer with the RWB. Decades after leaving the Canadian stage, he
returned to teach this piece to the new dancers of the company.
Wainrot’s breakthrough ballet was a retelling of the life of Anne Frank
All told, Wainrot has set works on almost 50 companies worldwide.
Speaking from his hotel in Toulouse, France, Wainrot expressed regret
that he would not be able to see the RWB perform in Israel. “I’ve been
to Israel seven or eight times,” he said. “I would love to come back.
The last time I was there was 16 years ago.” He was referring to a visit
in 1994, during which he staged one of his ballets for the Bat Dor
Dance Company. That ballet was the last of six that Wainrot shared with
At present, Wainrot is the artistic director of Ballet Contemporaneo del
Teatro San Martin in Buenos Aires. Like the school in Winnipeg,
Wainrot’s home theater also houses a school. “In the school, our
students come from all over Argentina. They travel thousands of miles to
study with us. I love to be in the studio more than I love the
performances. To be close to the dancers, to coach them, to see how they
are growing. It’s a free school. I see them from the beginning until
they are wonderful professionals. The process is pedagogical, and I love
With warmth in his voice, Wainrot added that beyond his love for the
art, he sees great importance in ballet. “It is important to society
like soccer or rugby or the opera. It’s an intellectual expression of
the human being. In dance, you can speak in movement. It’s an artistic
expression and a code to convey ideas and feelings.”
The Royal Winnipeg Ballet will perform
at TAPAC in Tel Aviv on October 14, 15 and 16 (03-692- 7777); at the
Sherover Theater in Jerusalem on October 18 (02-623- 7000); and at the
Haifa Auditorium on October 20 and 21 (04-841-8411).