“It is after several agonizing months that I’ve arrived at my decision to leave behind my career as a ballet dancer,” writes Sophia Lee. “Thank you. I wish you and your loved ones much health and happiness. Please know that I will miss performing for you.” (See her full letter @ https://www.rwb.org/uploads/documents/Sophia_Lee_Message_to_Audience_Final.pdf )
The website of Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet, where Sophia Lee’s been Principal Dancer until stepping away today, notes: “Lee performed leading roles including Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, Annie in Going Home Star – Truth and Reconciliation, Juliet in Romeo + Juliet, and Clara in Nutcracker. Her repertoire also includes Nathalie (Moulin Rouge – The Ballet), Moira (The Handmaid’s Tale), Lilac Fairy (Sleeping Beauty), and the lead role in Carmina Burana. She was selected by Twyla Tharp to dance the role of the Queen of the Underworld in Twyla Tharp’s The Princess & The Goblin, and has had roles created for her, including Svengali’s First in Mark Godden’s Svengali, as well as a solo set to Hallelujah in Jorden Morris’ The Doorway: Scenes from Leonard Cohen.” (https://www.rwb.org/who-we-are/people/sophia-lee/)
Eight-or-so years ago, musician Allison Crowe’s invited by André Lewis, the RWB’s Artistic Director, to perform with the company for the World Premiere (and subsequent touring) of “The Doorway”, choreographed by Jorden Morris. At their home theatre in Winnipeg, Allison met this amazing family of dancers who “fly and sparkle on stage” – experiencing a world of Prairie freshness and Olympian artistry alive with the words and music of Leonard Cohen.
“And while the glorious sounds of Crowe’s signature rendition of Hallelujah filled the room, Sophia Lee transfixed the audience the poignancy of her performance,” noted Andrea Nemetz, Dance Critic of The Halifax Chronicle-Herald at the time. (Jo-Ann Sundermeier danced the role on alternate days.)
The RWB calls the ballet "visible music". As such, still images capture a memory of the magic as we salute Sophia Lee. Thank you, Sophia, for the joy you’ve shared through dance. Wishing you the best of all that’s ahead! 💖
Here’s a composite of imagery – Sophia dancing “Hallelujah”.
(More photos from Allison’s wonderful time with the RWB family @ https://www.facebook.com/pg/AllisonCroweMusic/photos/?tab=album&album_id=10150839722146676)