Rachel Browne, Artistic Director (1964–1983)
Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers was initiated by Rachel Browne in 1964 as one of Canada’s founding contemporary dance companies. Under her leadership, the company grew from an amateur troupe to a professional, touring company. By the mid-70’s the company included an ensemble of professional dancers, The School of Contemporary Dancers, an apprentice program, a subscription series, and was touring provincially, nationally, and internationally, featuring local, national, and international artists. Under her directorship, the company engaged in consistent touring, highlights include: Expo 67, the National Arts Centre, and for CBC television. Rachel maintained a deep connection to WCD her entire life. WCD continued to present her work regularly under subsequent directors as well as posthumously in tribute concerts, most recently in 2019.
Bill Evans, Artistic Director (1983–1984)
Bill Evans’ choreographic work, coaching ability, and training methodologies had a positive impact on the organization. Highlights of his directorship: weeks of rural Manitoba touring, sold out performances, and performing at the Dance in Canada Conference. In 1984-85, he returned as teacher and Resident Choreographer at WCD. His lasting impact on the community continues as he annually returns to SCD to teach and choreograph as a Guest Artist.
Tedd Robinson, Artistic Director (1984–1990)
Tedd Robinson was appointed a Resident Choreographer and subsequently Artistic Director in 1984. His provocative, innovative choreography became a staple of the Company’s repertoire. Tedd initiated the Festival of Canadian Modern Dance, which ran for seven consecutive years, and featured a superb roster of national and international artists. Additional highlights include: WCD’s 20th Anniversary Gala, the 1985 tour to Mexico, and the 1989 performance of Robinson’s Lepidoptera at the National Arts Centre. Since his tenure, his work has been presented on many occasions by WCD and his connection continues to this day.
Charles Moulton, Artistic Director (1990 –′91)
Charles Moulton is a world renowned artist. However, his tenure created deep fissures and unrest in the community and left the company with an enormous deficit.
Arnold Spohr, Interim Artistic Director (1991)
Arnold Spohr was instrumental in keeping the company afloat in the short term, he programmed the first show of the season, ensured dancers were in place, and helped conduct the search for a new Artistic Director.
Tom Stroud, Artistic Director (1991–2005)
WCD was under the strong leadership of Tom Stroud from 1991-2005. During this time, his choreography was featured prominently and regularly, including the creation of many full length works. He initiated exciting collaborations and exchanges, including with: Mexico’s Delfos Danza Contemporanea, EDAM Dance, Fondation Jean-Pierre Perreault and Dancemakers. Additional highlights: national and provincial touring, collaborations, the 1999 Pan-Am Games Creation Project, WCD’s 35th Anniversary Festival, and envisioning and realizing the renovation and move to new facilities at 211 Bannatyne Avenue. His choreography was also featured on mixed programs and he programmed work by Rachel Browne, Julia Sasso, Lesandra Dodson, Yvonne Coutts, Karen Kuzak, Stephanie Ballard, and others.
Brent Lott, Artistic Director (2005 – 2017)
Under the leadership of Brent Lott, WCD toured nationally, performed at the Canada Dance Festival, and completed a capital campaign to renovate and rename The Rachel Browne Theatre. During his tenure, WCD presented many of his works, as well as co-produced programs featuring Guest Artists, and new works by national choreographers, including: Serge Bennathan, Sasha Ivanochko, Peggy Baker and Lesandra Dodson. From 2008-2016, WCD was a partner in the Prairie Dance Circuit, a touring project showcasing dance made in the prairie provinces. In partnership with The School of Contemporary Dancers, he also initiated Verge, a professional development project for emerging dancers.
Jolene Bailie, 2019
Jolene Bailie was appointed Interim Artistic Director, February 01, 2019 and Artistic Director, August 27, 2019