Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
Posted: 04/12/2010 9:34 AM | Comments: 0
Last Modified: 04/12/2010 10:24 AM | Updates
WINNIPEG — The man who put the Royal Winnipeg Ballet on the international dance map has died.
Arnold Spohr was the RWB’s artistic director from 1958 to 1988.
His friend and caregiver, the choreographer Stephanie Ballard, said that Spohr died at 1:30 a.m. Monday at the Tuxedo Villa nursing home. He was 86 and had been incapacitated for several years.
"It was time," Ballard said. "He passed away very peacefully."
The cause of death had not been confirmed, but Ballard said that Spohr’s kidneys had been failing and that he had been on dialysis three times a week for almost four years.
"He was made of steel," she said. "He was a giant. There was no one like him. He gave Canadian dance an identity."
His biographer, Michael Crabb, called him "a volcanic force for good in Canadian dance."
"And it wasn’t just Canada," Crabb said. "Wherever you went and the subject of ballet came up -- Russia, Cuba, Australia – people would ask, ‘What about that wonderful man in Winnipeg?'"
Though Spohr’s death is sad, Crabb says, it is also a time to celebrate.
"My God, what a life he had," Crabb said. "He didn’t miss a thing."
Ballard says a private funeral will be held in the coming days and that that she and the RWB will be organizing memorial events in Winnipeg and Toronto.
"We don’t know when yet," she said. "But it will be sooner than later."
Updated on Monday, April 12, 2010 at 10:24 AM CDT: Quotes, new info added.
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Kids come out on top in beloved stories
Dali Up Close
Visions of Sugar Plum Fairies
WAG hires Seema Hollenberg
Western Canada Aviation Museum earns royal designation
Dance aims to capture passion, pure joy of Pippi
Four shows added to MTYP's Peter Pan run
#Decolonize2014: Boundary-defying exhibitions by indigenous artists help define art in Winnipeg this year
Got the Munschies?
Mardi Gras to be held Feb. 13 & 14
Ready to rock