About Us

Contact Information:

For more information please contact:

Sarah Lochhead - Artistic and Executive Director
p. 705-718-5451
e. SimcoeContemporaryDancers [at] gmail.com

For mailing address please inquire by phone or email. 

Mandate, Mission and Values

Simcoe Contemporary Dancers is a not-for-profit professional company by and for the region of Simcoe County that exists to encourage and showcase the development of local professional contemporary dance. We come together to raise the visibility of contemporary dance, create awareness, build educational opportunities, and reach out to our public to share our love of our art form.

As residents of our community, we are invested in growing and developing local talent and local opportunities for professional development.  Our goal is to raise visibility and participation in contemporary dance by:  Creating and performing contemporary dance works; providing workshops/classes at an intermediate to advanced level of training; and providing public access to dance through performances/community involvement.

We value and encourage inter-disciplinary partnerships with individual artists and other local arts organizations.
The nature of our artists and activities provides a safe, positive, neutral environment for people to come together to take part in a shared experience. We facilitate opportunities to converge and collaborate as a community in a non-competitive atmosphere – providing a platform to be expressive, creatively engaged and challenged.

The local focus of our organization allows members of the community to enjoy a professional level of dance in their own backyard. Our events bring community together to a shared experience of movement, which transcends language, as we animate spaces with choreographies that tell our stories and experiences.
We are ambassadors for our art form within our community and ambassadors for our community within our art form.

Our Story

Simcoe Contemporary Dancers (SCD) was created by Sarah Lochhead in the Spring of 2009 with support from a City of Barrie Cultural Grant. Auditions were held in May 2009 and our inaugural project “Get Out and Dance”  (a site specific project) animated the waterfront and streets of downtown Barrie throughout the summer. With Lochhead’s leadership and vision the activities of the company evolved beyond Barrie’s borders to neighbouring municipalities and provincial performance opportunities.

2009 saw the development of weekly professional classes in Barrie providing an opportunity for local dancers to train together and establish a sense of community, as well as specialty workshops in the private studio sector.  We acquired donated repertoire from choreographers which led to further public performances in unconventional spaces such as the Bayfield Mall and theatre venues like the Georgian Theatre (for the Barrie Arts Awards).

2010 focused on choreography.  Nikki Russell’s work “Loss” was performed as part of Dance in Dundas Square in Toronto. That spring works by Lochhead were performed as part of Corpus dance company’s provincial mall tour. We held a *Summer Creation Period acquiring repertoire by Susan Kendal and Meaghan Giusti. This project fostered a period of artistic change and the tradition of holding annual auditions began. We gave workshops in high schools and expanded our weekly class opportunities to include an Orillia location. Our public performances included being part of the first national Culture Days initiative.

In 2011, we worked with notable Canadian modern dancer Trish Armstrong.  With solos by Armstrong, Lochhead and the direction of Nancy Pottage, we produced our first full length production –“Woven.” That summer SCD offered its first summer intensive called *My Moves - Choreographic Intensive, to assist in  developing skills of regional youth choreographers. Performance highlights included the Grand Opening Gala for the Mady Centre for the Performing Arts, and collaborating with BRAVADO!. An additional weekday evening class was added in Barrie by request of our class participants.  (SCD now offers four weekly class opportunities: 3 in Barrie – central, north and south and 1 in Orillia)

In late 2011 and into 2012 we began a guest workshop series bringing up artists such as Lucy Rupert, and Brittany Duggan to Barrie to increase access to professional development. Performance highlights of 2012 included: SCD apprentices at the Guelph Contemporary Dance Festival’s Youth Moves Series; a Culture Days performance at the MacLaren Art Centre; the patient holiday party at the Royal Victory Hospital and participation in Across Ocean’s Choreographic Marathon in Toronto. As of February 28, 2012 we incorporated as a not-for-profit organization. With the support of a City of Barrie operating project grant, we have navigated both artistic and administrative transitions, while maintaining our artistic activity and organizational integrity.

*project funded with support from a City of Barrie Culture Grant