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Mel and Karyn Lazarek, Chairs, Israel Mission 2010


Rhonda Prepes


By Rhonda J. Prepes, P. Eng., May 27, 2010

Federation Plans Mission to Israel to Join Ballet on Tour – Manitoba's Premier, Leader of the Opposition will be on mission

Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet [RWB] will be performing in Israel and Jordan this upcoming October 2010. The RWB is also partnering with The Jewish Federation of Winnipeg, which has planned a Mission to Israel to coincide with the RWB's tour to the country.

“In 1975 the Royal Winnipeg Ballet was the first Canadian ballet company to perform in Israel. We are thrilled to return during our 70th Anniversary [in 2010]”, Jacques Marcoux Publicity Manager for the RWB told the Winnipeg Jewish Review.

After its performances in Israel, the RWB will be travelling to Amman Jordan for one performance there.

“The RWB has never been to Jordan before. The RWB is the first Canadian Ballet Company to perform in Jordan,” Marcoux wrote in an email to the Winnipeg Jewish Review.

According to Marcoux, the genesis of this unique tour idea began when “ following a performance in Ottawa, the [Canadian] Ambassador for Israel  [Jon Allen] expressed interest in having the RWB perform in Israel.”

Elaine Goldstine, Director, Financial Resource Development for the Federation   Federation of Winnipeg explained that after  Jon Allen invited the ballet to perform in Israel “they [the RWB] then contacted the Federation and asked that we plan our fall mission around the touring ballet [while they are in Israel].””

Members of the RWB Company are expected to join the Mission in selected touring events in Israel for the first two days before their rehearsals begin.

While in Israel, the RWB will perform Mauricio Wainrot’s powerful Carmina Burana and Peter Quanz’sIn Tandem in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and in Haifa.

According to Marcoux, there will be three performances in Tel-Aviv, two in Jerusalem, and two in Haifa.

“The Jewish Federation of Winnipeg is pleased to partner with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. The trip will be an experience of a lifetime, and what a thrill watching an RWB performance in Israel,”said Bob Freedman, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg, who will be a participant of the mission.

Chairs of the Mission to Israel which will run October 9th to the 21st, 2010 are prominent community leaders Mel and Karyn Lazarek.

The trip has already garnered much interest from a number of dignitaries. According to  Marcoux and Goldstine, the Premier of Manitoba, Greg Selinger; the leader of the opposition, Hugh McFayden; the Minister of Innovation, Energy, and Mines, Dave Chomiak; the Minister of Water Stewardship, Christine Melnick and Tannis Mindel, Secretary to the Treasury Board  are all confirmed participants of this trip. Other participants include leading business people.

When asked by the Winnipeg Jewish Review how many members of the ballet will be going on the tour, Marcoux replied, “Approximately 50 members of the RWB including 27 dancers.” He also noted that the RWB has been in contact with the Israel Ballet Company, and “we are looking forward to connecting with them while there.”

Following its performances in Israel and its performance in Jordan, the RWB will also perform in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, as well. There will be one performance each Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

When asked whether the RWB made any attempt to set up performances in the Palestinian territories, such as Ramallah, Marcoux answered, “There were some initial discussions that occurred regarding potentially performing in Palestine, however due to scheduling constraints and a later than ideal start on discussions, plans for this have been postponed for the time being. The RWB is definitely open to the idea of performing in Palestine at some point in the future.”

According to RWB’s website, RWB’s tour is being sponsored by the Asper Foundation and the Jewish Foundation. Marcoux confirmed that “ both are providing funding toward the tour.” He added that “Our other major funders include the Province of Manitoba, the Canada Council for the Arts, and a number of private and corporate donors and sponsors.”

Today [n May 27], Premier Greg Selinger announced a commitment of $150,000 from the Province of Manitoba to help defray the costs of the month-long tour for the RWB. In a statement on May 27, The RWB also acknowledged the generous support of Gerald W. Schwartz and Onex Corporation, Avie Arenson, Morley and Marjorie Blankstein, Susan Glass and Arni Thornsteinson, the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba, Rubin and Faige Zimmerman, The Gray Family and Gail Asper.

As North America’s most toured international tballet company, the RWB has performed in over 573 cities and towns in 44 countries.

Participants in  the Jewish Federation Mission  will receive tickets to the RWB’s opening night performance at the Tel Aviv Opera House. For more information on how you can support RWB’s 70th anniversary tour, please contact Rheo Catt at 957-3442 or [email protected]. For more information about the Mission to Israel contact Elaine Goldstine at 477- 7427 or [email protected] or Jodi Novak at 477-7421 or [email protected].

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.