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Meet The Artists

Biography

Gweneth Lloyd

Canadian School of Ballet / Royal Winnipeg Ballet / Banff Centre School of Fine Arts

(1905-1905)

Gweneth Lloyd was the co-founder of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Canada's oldest dance company still in operation. She was born in England and immigrated to Winnipeg in 1938 with one of her students, Betty Hey (better known by her married name, Betty Farrally ).

In Canada, they started a dance studio, the Canadian School of Ballet, and a company, the Winnipeg Ballet Club. With company manager David Yeddeau, they organized and hosted the first Canadian Ballet Festival in 1948. In 1953, their troupe became the first ballet company in the British Commonwealth to be granted the title “Royal”.

Lloyd's teaching philosophy was influenced by her early training in physical education and gymnastics. She had a thorough understanding of anatomy and had studied the Revived Greek Dance technique of Ruby Ginner at the Ginner-Mawer school in England. In Canada, she also served as an examiner for the Royal Academy of Dance.

As a choreographer, Lloyd created ballets that were accessible to audiences, such as the 1939 works Grain and Kilowatt Magic. She created other successful works for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, including The Wise Virgins (1942) and Shadow on the Prairie (1952). These two works were reconstructed in the 1980s and 1990s and are the only two Lloyd works that are available for remounting.

Lloyd was the director of the dance division at the summer sessions of The Banff Centre School of Fine Arts (later renamed The Banff Centre) from the late 1940s until 1967. In 1950, Lloyd moved to Toronto where she opened a satellite studio of the Canadian School of Ballet and attempted to establish a new company, the Toronto Festival Dancers. She also choreographed for television, the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) and the Toronto Conservatory of Music. She later joined Farrally in Kelowna, British Columbia, where they opened another branch of the Canadian School of Ballet.

Lloyd was the recipient of numerous awards, including a Governor General's Performing Arts Award in 1992.

Websites:

Royal Winnipeg Ballet

Learn more:

Blewchamp, Anna. “Gweneth Lloyd and The Wise Virgins: Arguments for the Reconstruction of a Canadian Ballet.” Canadian Dance: Visions and Stories. Eds. Selma Landen Odom and Mary Jane Warner. Toronto: Dance Collection Danse Press/es, 2004: 405-414.

Dafoe, Christopher. Dancing Through Time: The First Fifty Years of Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Winnipeg: Portage and Main Press, 1990.