Three RWB students are expressing their gratitude and excitement about receiving scholarships through their hard work and commitment to their passion.

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet School has presented over 75 scholarships to students from all across Canada and the world to recognize their hard work, dedication and talent during the annual Scholarship Presentation Evening on November 10.

Attendees, which consisted of staff, donors, sponsors, and proud friends and family were treated to performances by Professional Division students that included exerts from Swan Lake, choreographed by Galina Yordanova after Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, and Manitoba Seasons, choreographed by Philippe Alexandre Jacques, a graduate of the RWB School Professional Division.

"It is an honour to celebrate the remarkable talent we see in young dancers at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School. I would like to extend my congratulations to all of the recipients and heartfelt thank you to the many donors and supporters who have made these awards possible. The presentation of these scholarships is a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of our students, while supporting them as they work towards a career in dance," says Stéphane Léonard, School Director. "To many students and their families, these scholarships are more than just a personal accomplishment - they also play a significant role in helping them pursue their big dreams."

The Scholarship Presentation Evening is supported by the Government of Canada and the Manitoba Arts Council.

RWB School Professional Division Scholarship Presentation Evening recipients and special guests | Photo provided by RWB by Ryan Rogocki RWB School Professional Division Scholarship Presentation Evening recipients and special guests. (Provided by RWB: Photo creds to Ryan Rogocki)

Recognizing Local Talent

Out of over 75 scholarships awarded last month, 12 of the recipients were from Manitoba.

Nya Chapman, a 13-year-old and level three dancer, received the Rose and Berel Sholom Memorial Scholarship which is awarded every year to one or more talented female students of the Professional Division who were born and/or raised in Winnipeg in need of financial support.

"A lot of people were getting scholarships at the time because they all give them out at once, but it's pretty nice to get a scholarship. I know Evelyn is a good dancer so to get one with Evelyn was nice," says Chapman about how it feels to receive the scholarship after dancing for 10 years.

16-year-old Evelyn Little is the second recipient of the Rose and Berel Sholom Memorial Scholarship. She is a level six student and has also been dancing for 10 years. She has been awarded this scholarship for five years in a row, noting that for the past four years she received it with her friend.

Little was also awarded the Doreen Macdonald Scholarship, which is given to one student showing interest and talent in design. It was awarded during the First Steps Competition, where students are given the opportunity to show their creative talent by designing a dance routine that is then performed by their peers. 

"It was over Zoom, so they had like a meeting and they announced all of the awards and it was really exciting," says Little. "I love choreographing, it's very fun to create movement to music that inspires me. I love lyrical and contemporary." 

Little is not the only one who has received an award multiple years in a row. Niki Powell has received the Nijinsky Dance Scholarship six years in a row, which is available to students of Polish descent with a preference given to students from Manitoba.

"It's really interesting to see sort of how the scholarship has evolved with me because I've been dancing at the RWB since level two and I'm now level seven and the scholarship has sort of been part of my experience at the RWB. I've been here for a really long time and I've been working with the same community of people for a really long time and to see that they still see the same spark in me that they saw when I started out, it's just a really comforting feeling," says Powell.

She has been debating pursuing a classical dance path for herself at the Anna McCowan-Johnson Aspirant Program offered at RWB or moving toward a contemporary dance field.

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet is performing Nutcracker beginning December 21 until December 28. Purchase tickets on its website