Lloyd, Gweneth

Gweneth Lloyd, ballet director, choreographer, teacher (b at Eccles, Eng 15 Sept 1901; d at Kelowna, BC 1 Jan 1993). As founding director and choreographer of what became the ROYAL WINNIPEG BALLET, Lloyd exemplifies the spirit of initiative and imagination that helped build Canada's cultural institutions. Trained first as a physical education instructor in England, she later studied Greek dance and BALLET. In 1927 she opened her own dance school in Leeds. In 1938, with former student Betty FARRALLY, Lloyd immigrated to Canada, settling in Winnipeg. There she quickly opened a school and the Winnipeg Ballet Club, from which a full-fledged professional company developed. Lloyd left Winnipeg in 1950 to found a school in Toronto. In 1946 she helped establish and began a long association with the BANFF CENTRE's summer dance program, becoming director of the program in 1950. With Farrally, Lloyd resettled in Kelowna, BC, in 1957, opening a new school.

Apart from a National Film Board production of Lloyd's Shadow on the Prairie (1952), little record remains of the more than 30 ballets she choreographed for her company from 1939-52 because the company's archives were destroyed by a fire in 1954. A stage reconstruction of her The Wise Virgins was successfully accomplished by Anna Blewchamp with help from former dancers in 1992 and was video-recorded. Lloyd's many honours include the Order of Canada (1977), the Dance in Canada Award (1984) and a Governor General's Performing Arts Award (1992).