The School and Apprentice Program of Contemporary Dancers was founded by Rachel Browne in 1972 as a division of Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers. In 1981, the Apprentice Program was recreated and Odette Heyn and Faye Thomson co-founded the Professional Program. In 1995, the School was separately incorporated from the company of Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers in order to focus on its unique mandate more fully. The School celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2012/2013.
Odette Heyn, C.M. and Faye Thomson, C.M. have co-directed the Professional Program for over 40 years. Under their direction the Program has developed into one of the leading contemporary dance performance training programs in Canada. Core staff for several years have included School Founder, Rachel Browne, C.M., Artist-in-Residence, Stephanie Ballard, and Artistic Associate, Gaile Petursson-Hiley.
Throughout the history of the Professional Program, numerous graduates have continued to enter the profession and perform with renowned companies and choreographers locally, nationally, and internationally. The Program has also been the source of distinguished choreographers and artistic directors within the Canadian contemporary dance community and beyond.