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Emily Barton and Nicholas Ruscica in Fulcrum.

David Hou

The time has come to shed some light on Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre. This company of young dancers is as slick and polished as its adult colleagues. Throw into the mix sophisticated choreography, and CCDT can take its place among the ranks of Toronto's top dance companies.

It was always the dream of artistic director Deborah Lundmark to create a professional company for young dancers, ably abetted by her husband, managing director Michael deConinck Smith. Lundmark's vision was a company where dance is an art form and not a competition, where young dancers can perform a repertoire of works that allow them to grow as artists.

Over time, CCDT has kept on redefining itself. In 1980, when the company was founded, it was called Canadian Children's Dance Theatre, and the top age of a dancer was 14. Today the youngest dancer is 14 and the top age is 20. The name change replacing Children with Contemporary occurred on CCDT's 30th anniversary.

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The 2014 company includes 11 dancers who have auditioned from all over Southern Ontario. Its show Fulcrum, scheduled for the Fleck Dance Theatre on May 30 and 31, includes works by Californian Colin Connor, Lundmark, and a world premiere by Toronto superstar street dancer Ofilio Portillo.

"CCDT is a place where young people can experience the life of a professional dancer," says Lundmark.

As proof, former members have joined the ranks of Toronto Dance Theatre and Dancemakers. Internationally, they can be found in the companies of José Limón, Mark Morris, Doug Varone and Wayne McGregor, which is a true testament to both their skill and training.

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