She was my favourite teacher, by far. She really taught me that the very minute, small, subtle things were what mattered."
—Jolene Bailie, Artistic Director of Gearshifting
The matriarch of modern dance in Canada died on June 9 at the age of 77.
The family wishes to announce that a celebration of Rachel Browne's life will be
held at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, June 15, 2012 at the Piano Nobile,
Centennial Concert Hall, 555 Main Street.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Winnipeg's Contemporary Dancers.
* * * * *
The founder of Winnipeg's Contemporary Dancers, Rachel Browne, died suddenly in Ottawa. She was there to see students performing in the Canada Dance Festival.
Browne founded Winnipeg's Contemporary Dancers in 1964 and was its
artistic director, resident choreographer and teacher for more than 20
Rachel Browne with Kenith Lipitz in "Interiors", choreography by Rachel Browne, performed in 1976 (Gerry Kopelow)
"She was a groundbreaker," explains Brent Lott, the company's current artistic director.
"The company that she founded 48 years ago is
the longest-running modern dance company in the country," Lott told CBC
News on Sunday."She started from nothing and built a company with a national reputation."
"We're all deeply crushed," said former student Jolene Bailie. Bailie is now artistic director of her own company, Gearshifting.
"She was my favourite teacher, by far," she said. Bailie was always impressed by her vigour and clarity and attention to detail. "She really taught me that the very minute, small, subtle things were what mattered."
"She was very beautiful," Bailie added. "She's one of those special people. To me, she never felt old because she just had so much energy and so much love that she just had this aura around her that was really magical."
The Winnipeg's Contemporary Dancers' performance venue was renamed the Rachel Browne Theatre in 2008.
Browne remained active as a choreographer, teacher and dancer until her death. Her latest work was premiered by Contemporary Dancers this past May.
Listen to Jolene Bailie in convesation with Terry MacLeod on Information Radio:
Statement from family of Rachel Browne
The family of Rachel Browne, founder of Winnipeg's Contemporary Dancers (WCD), regrets to announce the sudden passing today [Saturday], in Ottawa, of their beloved mother, and grandmother.
Rachel Browne will be sorely missed by her children Annette Browne (John Shultis), Miriam Browne (Kevin McElrea), and Ruth Asper (David Asper) as well as by her grandchildren Daniel, Rebecca, and Max Asper.
Rachel Browne founded the WCD in 1964 and served as its Artistic Director, resident choreographer, and teacher for over twenty years.
Under her direction, the company grew from a local amateur group to a nationally recognized repertory company significant in the development of modern dance in Canada.
Funeral and memorial arrangements will follow in due course.