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The Royal Winnipeg Ballet kicks off a southern Ontario tour Thursday with a new ballet set in the colourful, multicultural milieu of 1890s Paris.

Moulin Rouge: The Ballet celebrates the many varieties of dance brought to the city at that time by the Roma, Hungarians and people from all over Europe.

The RWB received an exclusive licence from the original Moulin Rouge cabaret to use its name for the full-length ballet, which recounts the romance between a budding artist and a young dancer lured to the city.

Choreographer Jorden Morris created the work for the Manitoba company's 70th anniversary in October 2009.

As he tells Radio-Canada's Kevin Sweet, the choreography had to combine popular dances of the times — including the tango and the can-can — with classical ballet steps and his own take on the action.

The RWB is taking Moulin Rouge on a five-stop tour of southern Ontario, with performances in Toronto, Hamilton, Mississauga, Kitchener-Waterloo and London.