Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Rachel Minkoff Browne (1934-2012)


Born at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1934, she was hired to as a dancer with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet in 1957. She left the company in 1961 to raise a family with her husband Donald Richard Browne. Three years later, she founded the Winnipeg Contemporary Dancers (WCD), and was its artistic director for nearly 20 years. She composed more than 80 works, most notably The Woman I Am (1975), In a Dark Time the Eye Begins to See (1987), Old Times Now (1987), Mouvement (1992), Toward Light (1995) and Edgelit (1998). In recognition of her contributions to the arts, she received the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal and Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal, and was inducted into the Order of Canada (1998). The WCD practice studio is named for her. After leaving the company in 1982, she worked as a freelance choreographer and teacher. Browne died at Ottawa, Ontario on 9 June 2012.


“Dance world’s ‘grande dame’ left a living legacy,”Winnipeg Free Press, 11 June 2012.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 11 June 2012.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 5 April 2020

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. We acknowledge that the collection contains both reputable and disreputable people. All are worth remembering as a lesson to future generations.

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