Goblins - not just for Halloween anymore

Royal Winnipeg Ballet teams up with the Atlanta Ballet for The Princess and the Goblin


Princesses, neglectful parents, goblins and evil plots - the Royal Winnipeg Ballet is bringing a magical story to the stage that is sure to enrapture audiences.

RWB opens this season with the Canadian premiere of iconic choreographer Twyla Tharp’s latest piece, The Princess and the Goblin, which is a co-production with the Atlanta Ballet.

Adapted from Victorian fantasy novelist George MacDonald’s work by the same title, Tharp’s ballet tells the story of Princess Irene’s quest to rescue the children of her town from the clutches of the Goblin, including saving her two young sisters.

The ballet weaves a tale of humility and forgiveness, told with beautiful costumes and what is sure to be wonderful choreography.

While the lead roles of King Papa and Princess Irene are filled by guest artists John Selya and Paloma Herrera from partner company the Atlanta Ballet, the rest of the ensemble is filled out by dancers from the RWB, including students from both the Professional Division and the Recreational Division.

University of Winnipeg Collegiate graduate Elizabeth Lamont plays one of the few named roles in the new ballet. A member of the Corps of the company, Lamont is Lootie, the princesses’ nanny, among many other roles.

“I’m supposed to be very stern in the novel,” Lamont, 22, says. “But I’m like a mother to them, so I’m very motherly.”

As Lootie, Lamont is not dancing in pointe shoes, as many may expect from a ballet.

“I’m wearing character shoes, so the shoes dictate your steps.

“I’m in a blue dress, it’s very period, with covers on the shoes, and I feel as though I look a little bit like Mary Poppins,” the dancer says with a laugh.

Lamont has enjoyed working with the dancers that play the younger princesses and children, and has even found that her nanny role has transferred from the stage to the wings.

“We had just finished doing the run and the little girls that I’m the nanny to, they were about to go on stage, when one of them said, ‘Oh, my hair isn’t done right.’ So I was like, ‘Okay, let me fix it.’

“I ended up doing a French Twist for one of them, and then the other one said, ‘I want one, too!’ So I did a French Twist for two little girls before they had to go on, while my hair is falling out, of course.

“They’re so sweet and innocent and cute,” Lamont says. “You kind of forget being that age, but I remember looking up to people like that, too.”

Lamont is ecstatic about working with one of those people she looked up to, guest artist Paloma Herrera.

“She is like an idol for me,” Lamont says of Herrera. “When I was a kid I had a poster of her in my basement where I used to practice, so meeting her has been amazing.”

Lamont laughs when she thinks about their relationship in the show.

“I’m taking care of her now - I’m supposed to be older!”

Twyla Tharp’s The Princess & The Goblin is on now until Monday, Oct. 21 at the Centennial Concert Hall. Tickets are available at www.ticketmaster.ca, RWB and Concert Hall box offices, or call 204-956-2792. Visit www.rwb.org/princessandthegoblin.

Published in Volume 67, Number 7 of The Uniter (October 17, 2012)

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