509 Parliament Street Toronto, ON M4X 1P3
... where aspiring young dancers come to grow
The School of Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre aims to provide a creative home for young bodies, minds, and spirits. Artistic Director Deborah Lundmark has over forty years of experience guiding young dancers from first steps to stage premieres.
The School’s expert faculty seeks to make an art of the natural joy of movement found in every child, providing a unique alternative to competition-based training. Encouraging recreational students, pre-professional students, and everyone in between, the School’s objective is to foster not only the “thinking dancer” but also the self-directed and physically confident young person.
Our pre-professional program incorporates CCDT's resident Company’s vision of strong ballet and modern dance training. This combination leads to a well-rounded dancer who is able to interpret and perform the work of diverse choreographers, and to succeed in a wide range of post-secondary training and performance opportunities.
Full-time students considering entry into performing arts schools and post-secondary dance programs are assured to receive exceptional preparation by training at the School of CCDT.
The School of Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre was launched in 1983 by Artistic Director Deborah Lundmark. Ms. Lundmark began her career as a protégé of Saskatoon’s leading Royal Academy teacher, Sonja Barton, and was greatly inspired by the work of Rachel Browne, founder of Winnipeg Contemporary Dancers. She was a member of Ryerson Polytechnic’s first graduating class and went on to head Brian Foley Studios’ ballet department until 1982.
Ms. Lundmark’s vision in founding her school was to develop non-competitive training that reflected the values of her CCDT performing company, founded in 1980 with partner, Michael deConinck Smith. Her company brought together creative young people in a co-operative setting to make contemporary art, and so she focused her school on developing that same company-like ethos, calling it performance training.
While her students were undertaking ballet training according to the international standards of the Royal Academy of Dance, Ms. Lundmark’s choreography for the young company was increasingly influenced by the extraordinary local modern companies of the day, foremost among these, Toronto Dance Theatre (TDT). To prepare the dancers for her choreography, she developed a modern technique training program and quickly found that it beautifully complemented their ballet training. In 1983 this synergy found its perfect home in TDT’s studios, and the School of CCDT was born.
In the late 1980s Donna Krasnow, a leading Limón technique master, arrived in Toronto from New York, bringing an encyclopaedic knowledge of the José Limón modern dance technique to the School. She developed a unique training syllabus and immersed SCCDT students in a vocabulary and artistic vision that proved ideally suited to young physiques and minds. Within a decade Carla Maxwell, Artistic Director of the Limón Dance Company, the world’s oldest modern company, was coming north to audition the School’s dancers, concluding, “I was overwhelmed by what I saw and experienced”. Ms. Maxwell hired School of CCDT graduate Kristen Foote at 19 as the youngest dancer ever to join the company, to be followed by Belinda McGuire, Frances Samson, guest artist Julian Nichols, and intern Nicholas Ruscica. The relationship reached a high point in 2015 when CCDT's company was invited to perform at The José Limón International Dance Festival at New York’s storied Joyce Theater.