The longtime artistic director of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet said he would step down from the role in 2025, ending a 50-year career with Canada’s oldest ballet company.
Andre Lewis became artistic director of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet in 1996, and in 2018 he was also appointed CEO of the company.
Lewis began training in dance in Ottawa before being accepted into the professional division of the Royal Winnipeg School of Ballet in 1975.
She joined the company in 1979, where she worked as a dancer for 10 years before moving into a management role.
He says he still remembers his first dance class.
“My brother was having a class there, and his teacher told his class ‘we need a boy for a nutcracker.’ So my mom sent all three of us out to perform,” said Lewis.
The former dancer of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet recalls performing for Queen Elizabeth
“I love the physique and I love the artistic intent behind the physique. That’s what got me interested in ballet. I admire the ability to move emotions.
The company said in a statement Thursday that its board of directors had begun the transition and would launch an international hiring plan to hire a replacement.
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Lewis’ role will be split in two, with a new person taking over as executive director in June 2023 and artistic director in 2024.
“For the last, let’s say three years, it’s been on my mind. What should I do, how do I do it? And I will hit 70 at some point – it’s not that old, it’s just that I want to do other things,” he said.
As a practicing company for Swan LakeLewis reflects on his long career, in which he oversaw 30 years of production as artistic director, and commissioned new works, such as Going Home Star – Truth and Reconciliationcertain point of pride.
“I have the immense privilege of serving this organization, and serving the people, the students, the dancers, and the administrative staff. It is because of them that I can do what I have always done.”
But even after retiring, Lewis says he won’t be leaving dance entirely behind. “I think it’s a wonderful aspect of our human endeavor, that artistic side, making a difference in the city, and the country, in the province, and I want to keep that going.”
— With files from Canadian Press and Iris Dyck from Global
Old RWB head to step down
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