Just call him the Cincinnati kid.
That’s because former Winnipegger Connor Redpath, 19, is now busy making a name for himself with the Cincinnati Ballet, which he joined last year.
Redpath — who grew up in St. Vital, Fort Rouge and Wolseley — also grew up learning his trade with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School’s Recreational and Professional divisions, having joined when he was four.
Redpath, a University of Winnipeg Collegiate alumnus, said the culture at RWB helped him hone his ballet skills and develop an intense work ethic.
"It was very strict and structured, but not horrifically strict. It was a rigorous schedule and lots of dancing," said Redpath, who was speaking during a holiday season visit to his see his grandparents, Joe and Judy Redpath, in St. Vital.
Since joining the Cincinnati Ballet, the keen photographer and filmmaker has performed in Alice and Wonderland and the Nutcracker — when he took the role of the Nutcracker Prince — which included a six-show run in Anchorage, Alaska.
To keep in shape for his gruelling schedule, Redpath goes to the gym regularly and tries to consume as many calories as possible.
"I try to work on my upper body and maintain my strength, because when you’re a male dancer it’s important to be able to lift the girls. I also need to keep up my cardio and stamina," he said.
Despite a bright future on the ballet horizon, and a passion for the profession, Redpath is unsure at this point how long he wants to be a dancer — not least because of the toll it takes on the body.
"Sometimes it can be kind of painful, depending on how the body feels, and sometimes it feels amazing — to look at the audience and have all eyes on you. You can have a lot of fun on stage in some ballets. For example, in the party scene of the Nutcracker, there is a lot of room for improvisation," Redpath said.
"To some people, ballet is the be all and end all, but it’s hard on your body. Maybe I’ll have five years? In many ways, your longevity at the top is very much like professional sports."
In April, Redpath will take part in Frampton, when renowned British guitarist Peter Frampton will perform live with the ballet for three shows.
For more information, visit www.cballet.org.