A Room of One’s Own: Tara Birtwhistle

A Room of One’s Own is a photography series by Laura Murray Public Relations that showcases the beloved spaces belonging to members of Canada’s artistic scene. With a nod to Virginia Woolf’s essay by the same name, we present self-portraits from artists, arts media, and arts administrators in a room they call their own, simultaneously highlighting leaders in the arts alongside the importance of space in their creative work. How they define ‘room’ is up to them.


This week we spoke with dance artist and Vancouver native Tara Birtwhistle. Her name will be very familiar name to ballet lovers, as she spent more than 20 years performing with Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet, working up to the position of Principal and performing such prestigious roles as Lucy in Mark Godden’s Dracula and Juliet in Rudi van Dantzig’s Romeo + Juliet. Now retired from performing, Birtwhistle continues to inspire and teach the next generation of artists as the RWB’s Ballet Master.


This is Tara’s room:


Q: Which room did you choose?


My favourite room is really not a room, in the traditional sense, it is our small family camper. It is our travelling room and my sanctuary.


Q: What makes this room ‘yours’?


One would think, because I have been a professional ballerina most of my life, and now a ballet master, I would have chosen the studio or a dressing room as a favourite. This room is so far removed from the world of dance, which is the very reason I love it so much. It’s in it’s simplicity that I find a silence from the constant repetition of steps, strive for perfection and voice of criticism, which is more often than not, my own voice. It is in this room where I can regroup, so I can put my best into the art I am so passionate about.


Q: What are the items in the room that you love and why are they so special to you?


It is my beautiful family in this room that inspires me. My daughters, who I’m also so incredibly passionate about, teach me that I never have to divide my love and passion but simply multiply it.


Tara will be in Vancouver this January, when the Royal Winnipeg Ballet returns with Romeo + Juliet.


Categories: MPMG