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Meet The Artists

Biography

Betty Farrally

Canadian School of Ballet / Royal Winnipeg Ballet / Banff Centre School of Fine Arts

(1915-1989)

Betty Farrally, whose birth name was Betty Hey, studied dance in her native England at the Torch School of Dance, a studio run by Gweneth Lloyd and fellow teacher Doris McBride. When Lloyd emigrated from Britain to Canada in 1938, Farrally joined her.

Together Farrally and Lloyd started a dance studio, the Canadian School of Ballet, and co-founded a company, the Winnipeg Ballet Club, which eventually became the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. While Lloyd acted as the choreographer and artistic director, Farrally trained and rehearsed the dancers in her role as ballet mistress. In addition, she performed as a dancer in the company and was responsible for remembering Lloyd's choreography. Farrally also wrote the scenarios for several of Lloyd's early works, including Backstage 1897 (1941) and Finishing School (1942).

Farrally taught at The Banff Centre School of Fine Arts (later renamed The Banff Centre) when Lloyd was hired as the director of the dance division in 1948.

In 1950, Lloyd left the Winnipeg company to relocate to Toronto . Farrally continued to run the organization and was officially named artistic director in 1955. In the late 1950s, Farrally moved to Kelowna, British Columbia, where she and Lloyd founded a branch of the Canadian School of Ballet. Farrally continued her relationship with the Winnipeg Canadian School of Ballet and she also continued to teach at summer schools in Banff. She eventually became the co-director of the dance division with Arnold Spohr in 1967.

Farrally was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1981 in recognition of her important contributions to the development of ballet in Canada.

Websites:

Royal Winnipeg Ballet

Learn more:

Dafoe, Christopher. Dancing Through Time: The First Fifty Years of Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Winnipeg: Portage and Main Press, 1990.

Wyman, Max. The Royal Winnipeg Ballet: The First Forty Years. Toronto: Doubleday Canada, 1978.