Winnipeg East (1945)

In Canada there had been one company prior to my first tour that had toured a great distance

Boris Volkoff took his company to the famous 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. Boris was strangely quiet about what happened there, and there is currently only the odd mention here and there that it actually happened.

The next long tour by a Canadian Ballet company was in 1945 with the Winnipeg Ballet. In February of 1945 , the company toured to Ottawa for two performances. In November of 1945 the company toured to Regina, Saskatoon and Edmonton.

The Ottawa trip was a great success, much to the surprise of the company, and Ottawa.

Headlines like —

“Winnipeg Ballet Club breaks box office records in Ottawa”
“Winnipeg Ballet scores in East”
“Winnipeg Ballet plays again to Capacity Ottawa audience”

Boris Volkoff went especially to watch the company in Ottawa. He was quoted as saying “Winnipeg can be proud of its talent. Please tell your city to support this worthy group-they deserve it. The more appearances before the public, the more experience they gain, and that is what they still lack.”

The company performed Etude, the Wise Virgins and an American in Paris on the first night. The second performance included Finishing School, Les Preludes and once again An American in Paris.

The press praised the dancers, but also the choreography of Gweneth lloyd. They were very impressed by the sets designed by Prof. John Russell.

After that tour, in an interview with Lillian Gibbons in Winnipeg, Gweneth Lloyd said ” the trip was good publicity for the corps de ballet. Ottawa didn’t expect anything very fine to come out of Winnipeg. It saw and applauded.”

In the same interview Gweneth Lloyd said, “the Ottawa jaunt cost $3,600.00, to move 30 people to Ottawa and back. The fee was only $1,200.00. We raised the other $2.400.00 at two benefits for ourselves”

She went on to talk about her hopes for a National Ballet in Canada.

This was in 1945.