Skip to content

Former students return for gala

After 25 years in the business, Edmonton Festival Ballet has developed a network of friendly contacts across North America that adds lustre to the amateur dance company.

After 25 years in the business, Edmonton Festival Ballet has developed a network of friendly contacts across North America that adds lustre to the amateur dance company.

Looking to host a reunion for their milestone anniversary, it was easy for co-artistic directors Nancy Hamilton and Tara Mahood to pick up the phone and call one of their former students, Vanessa Lawson, principal dancer at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

Eager to share good memories of her early dance training, Lawson cajoled her Belgian born dance partner Gael Lambiotte into partnering her. Together they will dance the Swan Lake pas de deux at EFB’s silver anniversary held at the Arden Theatre on Sunday, Feb. 28.

“Physically Vanessa is built to dance. She has beautiful legs, beautiful feet. She was also born to do it. She found it in her and we helped nurture her,” says Hamilton.

In addition to Lawson and Lambiotte, other special guests making an appearance are the Edmonton Contemporary Dancers, and students from the Vimy Ridge Dance Program and the Edmonton School of Ballet.

In addition, former artistic director Clinton Rothwell, now artistic director of Huntsville Ballet Academy, has choreographed a new classical work for the dance company.

Rothwell, who gained an enduring reputation as a former principal dancer at the National Ballet, was at the EFB helm during the 1980s. “He’s choreographed a classical work in three movements. Clinton believes strongly in the pure classical lines. It’s very much designed for the female classical body and is very challenging.”

The two-hour gala is also an opportunity to laud the many alumni who have taken their art to the next step. For instance Tanya Dobler was principal dancer for Alberta Ballet for 14 years. Kendra Moore danced with Ballet Austin, Hubbard Street in Chicago and Les Ballet Jazz before becoming a dance captain for the Lion King touring show. “And Corynne Barron, a recent graduate, was one of the 12 finalists for So You Think You Can Dance.”

“We will have a fabulous variety of dancing. But this particular show will showcase how far the company has come and the kind of quality dancer we produce.”

Preview

25th Anniversary Gala<br />Edmonton Festival Ballet<br />Sunday, Feb. 28 at 2:30 p.m.<br />Arden Theatre<br />5 St. Anne Street<br />Tickets: $30. Call 780-440-2100; also available at the door.