Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet (RWB) proudly announces the promotion of five dancers and the addition of four, totaling 26 Company dancers.
RWB’s new roster features Alanna McAdie’s promotion from Second Soloist to Soloist, Liam Caines’ promotion from Corps de Ballet to Second Soloist, and Jesse Petrie ’s promotion from Apprentice to Corps de Ballet. Halfway through the 2016/17 season, Yue Shi and Saeka Shirai advanced from Apprentice to Corps de Ballet.
“I am very excited to be returning to the RWB for the 2017-18 season as a Second Soloist,” states Liam Caines, RWB Company dancer. “Having danced with this Company for 10 seasons, it has been a goal of mine for a number of years to have this opportunity. I look forward to taking on the responsibility and future challenges this will provide me.”
Joining the RWB Company is Australian-born Stephan Azulay who most recently danced with the Nevada Ballet Theatre and Peter Lancksweerdt, who joins us from the Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada. Both Azulay and Lancksweerdt will take Corps de Ballet positions.
“These promotions will further highlight our dancers’ talent as they take on more challenging roles and move up within the Company,” states André Lewis, RWB’s Executive Artistic Director. “I am thrilled to showcase RWB’s talent, both from established and new Company dancers, in our 2017/18 season.”
The RWB also welcomes two Apprentices from the RWB School Professional Division’s Aspirant Program:Victoria Jenkins and Liam Saito.
Alanna McAdie: Born in Edmonton, Alberta, McAdie trained at the Edmonton School of Ballet before beginning her professional training with the RWB School Professional Division. After graduating in 2009, she joined RWB’s Aspirant Program before becoming a Company Apprentice in 2011. From there, McAdie was promoted to Second Soloist in 2015. Since joining the RWB Company, McAdie has danced notable roles such as: Giselle (Giselle), Clara (Nutcracker), Wendy (Peter Pan), Helena ( The Faerie Queen – A Ballet Based On A Midsummer Night’s Dream), and was chosen by Mark Godden for Niska (Going Home Star – Truth and Reconciliation).
Liam Caines: Originally from Kingston, New Brunswick, Caines danced in Saint John at Rothesay Ballet, then at Port City Dance Academy before starting his training at the RWB School Professional Division in 2003. Caines was invited to join the RWB Company in 2007 and was promoted to Corps de Ballet in 2009. Repertoire highlights includes Drosselmeyer (Nutcracker), Hilarion (Giselle), and Clergyman (Mark Godden’s Going Home Star – Truth and Reconciliation). In 2014, Caines was hand-picked by James Kudelka to perform the role of Lead Man in his ballet The Four Seasons. Most recently, Caines performed alongside Evelyn Hart in the World Premiere of Kudelka’s Vespers.
Stephan Azulay: Australian-born Azulay trained at the Academy Ballet in Sydney, Australia, from 2006-08. From there, he obtained his Advanced Diploma in Dance, Certificate III in Dance, from the Victorian College of the Arts. Azulay continued his ballet training at the Australian Ballet School from 2009-11. Following this training, Azulay danced for two years with the Joffrey Ballet Concert Group and three years with the Nevada Ballet Theatre. Azulay has performed as Bluebird (Sleeping Beauty), Von Rothbart (Swan Lake), Mercutio (Romeo Juliet), and Albrecht (Giselle).
Peter Lancksweerdt: Born in Belgium, Lancksweerdt began his studies at the Royal Ballet School of Antwerp. At 14 years, he entered the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris. He graduated in 2013 and continued his training in the Classical Junior Ballet of the Conservatory. There Lancksweerdt danced several roles and classical variations including Romeo and Tybalt in Romeo and Juliette by Paul Chalmer and the role of the principal dancer in Études by Harald Lander. Lancksweerdt won prizes at several ballet competitions such as Biarritz and Valenciennes. With Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada he danced in Piaf, Phantom of the Opera, and Ghost of Violence.
Jesse Petrie: Ontario-born Petrie began her ballet studies at the age of three. She studied at the School of Dance in Ottawa under Mary Ross before being accepted into the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School Professional Division in 2009. Petrie joined the RWB School’s Aspirant Program following her graduation in 2013. Here, Petrie was given the opportunity to dance in many RWB productions before joining the Company as an Apprentice in 2015.
Yue Shi: Born in China, Shi began studying ballet at the Liaoning Ballet School at the age of 10. Throughout his training, he has participated in many international ballet competitions and garnered several awards. Shi was invited to join the RWB School Aspirant Program when he competed at the Jackson International Ballet Competition. Shi joined the RWB Company as an Apprentice in 2015 and has danced the roles of Prince (Nutcracker), Pas de Six (Giselle), and Jester (Swan Lake). In the summer of 2016, Shi won Silver in the prestigious Varna International Ballet Competition. In the beginning of 2017, Shi guest performed the role of Prince (Sleeping Beauty) with Sofia National Opera Ballet.
Saeka Shirai: Born in Japan, Shirai trained with the Yuki Ballet Studio under Yuki Morita for 7 years. In 2009 she performed in the Youth American Grande Prix New York finals and in 2011 she competed at the Prix de Lausanne, where she was offered a scholarship to Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet School Professional Division. She received a full scholarship every year after that until she graduated top of her class, with distinction in 2014. Shortly after a very successful first year in the graduate program, Shirai was offered a contract with the RWB Company. Since joining, she has performed major roles such as the Giselle pas de six, Clara (Nutcracker), and the leading role of Tinker Bell (Peter Pan). In the summer of 2016, Saeka won Silver in the prestigious Varna International Ballet Competition.
Victoria Jenkins: Born in San Diego, Jenkins trained at the California Ballet School before studying at the RWB School Professional Division. Jenkins graduated with distinction from the RWB School Professional Division in 2016 and RWB’s Aspirant program in 2017. Notable roles for Jenkins have been Nikiya (La Bayadère), White Swan pas de deux (Swan Lake), and Violka (Romani Song).
Liam Saito: Massachusetts-born Saito began training at East Street Ballet and the Massachusetts Academy of Ballet before being accepted into the RWB School Professional Division. After graduating in 2015, Saito continued his training with RWB’s Aspirant program, which he graduated from in 2017. Notable performances for Saito have been the Grand pas Classique pas de deux and Peter Quanz’ In Tandem.
To purchase tickets for the 2017/18 season
Season subscriptions are now available in person through the RWB Customer Service Office at 380 Graham Avenue or by calling 204-956-2792 or toll free 1-800-667-4792. Groups of ten or more should contact the RWB Customer Service Office for more information on group discounts.