Forthcoming Change in Artistic Leadership

Entering its 15th year of operations, Simcoe Contemporary Dancers announces a forthcoming change in artistic leadership.

Effective JUNE 30, 2024, Shelby Thoms, will be stepping down as Artistic Director.

During Thoms’ tenure as Artistic Director, SCD has hosted countless open contemporary dance classes and guest workshops for the community, created a virtual class library and dance film, produced free performances in the community, and produced two theatrical productions at the Five Points Theatre including Unravelled and Continuum.

One of SCD’s longest standing company members and current Rehearsal Director, Jaqui Brown, will move into the role of Artistic Director. Brown, who joined SCD in 2014, is a movement artist and dance teacher from Newmarket, Ontario. She earned a diploma in Performance Dance Studies and a Certificate in the Performing Arts from George Brown College. She also holds a degree in Psychology and Spanish from York University. Alongside her work as a performer and choreographer, Jaqui has her own business as a photographer. Brown is an invaluable company member dedicated to artistic excellence and community engagement.

“After working with the company for the past 10 years, I’m very excited to step into this role. I’m looking forward to continuing to grow with SCD, and can’t wait to see what the future holds!” said Brown.

As SCD navigates this artistic transition, Thoms will continue to stay engaged with SCD as a guest instructor and choreographer. Of her time with the company, Thoms shared, “SCD hired me straight out of university and allowed me to continue to have an artistic outlet for over a decade. I will forever be grateful for the experiences I’ve had, the connection I’ve built with my community and most importantly the life long, life changing friendships I have made. SCD is in the best possible hands, and I cannot wait to be a dedicated audience member for years to come.”

Executive Director, Chrissy Baxter, added “We are so thankful to Shelby for her dedication, expertise, and passion. She has been a huge contributing member of our organization, and she will be greatly missed on a day-to-day basis. We know we will continue to work with Shelby as different projects arise which is an encouragement to us all. I am beyond thrilled to be working more closely with Jaqui on the artistic vision and direction of SCD, and I see a lot of exciting programming opportunities ahead for us!”

At the heart of SCD is a commitment to community, collaboration, and creativity. Together, with support from the Board of Directors, Chrissy and Jaqui will continue to centre these values as they produce professional classes, workshops, events, and performances in Simcoe County.

Of the transition, Board Chair Wendy Hutchinson remarked, “as a founding Board member, I have helped oversee various changes in SCD, all whilst SCD has continually grown thanks to the people at its core.  The Board and I are grateful to Shelby Thoms for 10+ years of artistic endeavour and professionalism, and we offer our good wishes for her future.  Our congratulations go to Jaqui Brown as she takes on her new role, and we look forward to seeing her further develop SCD’s repertoire with her own artistry and enthusiasm.”

SCDs 15th Anniversary Season begins in July 2024. As part of their 15th Anniversary celebrations, SCD will be bringing a variety of open contemporary dance classes, exciting guest workshops, community performances and more to Barrie. To stay up to date on all the exciting 15th anniversary programming, follow SCD on all their socials at @scdancers!

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