David Moroni

Honorary Doctorate

David Moroni


Honorary Doctor of Letters

David Moroni’s legacy as a Principal Dancer of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet (RWB) is only enhanced by his international reputation as the founder of the RWB School’s Professional Division. Thanks to his vision, countless classical ballet dancers trained in Winnipeg now work on stages all over the world.

Moroni joined the RWB in 1964 and became a Principal Dancer in 1968. In 1970 the RWB Board of Directors and then Artistic Director Arnold Spohr decided that a professional level training school was needed to develop local talent and strengthen the company. Moroni was asked to take on this enormous challenge and responsibility. Sacrificing his performing career, he embarked on what would become his life’s work.

Moroni created the program from modest beginnings. For several years, he was the entire school: sole teacher and administrator. He worked to develop an integrated academic-dance program to ensure that Professional Division dancers also received a strong academic education; the dance curriculum was based on the Russian system of creating versatile dancers.

In 1989, the province’s Department of Education officially recognized the RWB School Professional Division, which enabled students to receive credit for their dance studies. In 2008 the Professional Division cemented a relationship with The University of Winnipeg Collegiate making it the “school of choice” for RWB students.

Moroni’s passion to create well-rounded individuals has led to additional UWinnipeg connections for students. UWinnipeg’s Faculty of Education recognizes the work completed by graduates of the RWB School Teacher Program, allowing them to designate dance as a teachable minor.

Under his leadership, the Professional Division has garnered international critical acclaim and is a sought after school by aspiring dancers from across the country and around the globe. As retired RWB Principal Dancer and Collegiate alumna Tara Birtwhistle expressed, “I am grateful to have grown as a dancer under his watchful eye. When he is in the audience I seem to stand taller and dance bigger. I want to make him proud.”

The University of Winnipeg is honoured to present David Moroni with an Honorary Doctor of Letters for his outstanding contributions to the development of dance in Canada, both as an exceptional dancer and inspirational teacher.