In its first decade TDT had an enormous impact, enhanced by the foundation in 1968 of its own school, which to this day continues as one of Canada's leading contemporary dance training institutions. TDT's seriousness of purpose and commitment to educating dance artists earned it wide respect and attracted aspiring modern dancers from across the country. Over the years, several of its dancers have gone on to join leading modern-dance troupes around the world or even to found their own companies.
During the 1980s, however, the company faced daunting financial problems, in part because of its ambitious purchase and conversion in 1979 of a former church complex into a new company headquarters and studio theatre. Its three founders were exhausted and their creative energy waned. In 1983 they stepped aside to offer the artistic directorship to Kenny Pearl, a Canadian whose dancing career had largely been in the United States. Pearl swiftly restored the company's popularity by refreshing the repertoire and inspiring the dancers. Although he continued to present works by the three founders, Pearl increasingly featured the creations of Christopher HOUSE, a TDT dancer since 1978 who had already been named as a resident choreographer in 1981.
Despite his achievements, Pearl was ousted in 1987 and Earle returned as sole artistic director before stepping aside in 1994 to make way for House. Under House's leadership TDT has largely moved away from its historic roots as a repertory company to become primarily a platform for his own choreography, a development that parallels the artistic evolution of such other Canadian modern-dance troupes as WINNIPEG'S CONTEMPORARY DANCERS and DANCEMAKERS. Initially House continued to create mixed programs of short works, but in 2000 he began to choreograph full-length works for the company. Notably, TDT has collaborated with international artists including seminal American choreographer Deborah Hay.
TDT has toured widely throughout Canada as well as Europe, the United States, Mexico and Venezuela. Under House it has become a regular and popular visitor to New York's leading contemporary dance venue, the Joyce Theatre. Along with touring, TDT performs annually at the Harbourfront Centre and at its home, the Winchester Street Theatre in Toronto.
Author MICHAEL CRABB Revised: KATHERINE CORNELL
Links to Other Sites
Dance Collection Danse
The Dance Collection Danse website, Canada's national dance archives and publisher dedicated to the preservation of Canadian theatrical dance history. Check out their numerous online features, publications, and exhibits.
Canadian Women in Theatre and Dance
This Library and Archives Canada site features biographies of prominent women in Canadian theatre and dance. Also offers teaching guides and reference sources.
An extensive multimedia website devoted to the rich and varied world of dance. Features biographies of prominent dance artists, video clips of interviews and dance performances, the "Virtual Dance Studio" where you can create original choreography on your computer, and much more. From ArtsAlive.ca, a National Arts Centre website.
Playwrights Guild of Canada
The website for the Playwrights Guild of Canada. Search for brief profiles of Canadian playwrights and information about programs that offer assistance to playwrights.
A bilingual, searchable, Canada-wide performance database from Dance Media Group/Groupe Danse Média, publishers of "The Dance Current" magazine.
Watch an interview with acclaimed choreographer Christopher House from dancepassort.ca.
Toronto Dance Theatre
The website for the Toronto Dance Theatre, a highly regarded Canadian contemporary dance company.
Deborah Hay and Christopher House
In this interview, Deborah Hay and Christopher House talk about their careers in contemporary dance and coreography. From the Dance Collection Danse website.