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Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre presents

Teasing gravity

May 2, 2024  |  Burlington Performing Arts Centre

Founder & Artistic Director

Deborah Lundmark

Founder & Managing Director

Michael deConinck Smith

Rehearsal Director

Steph Harkness

The Company

Zada Britton, Larissa Christoff, Isabel Dela Cruz, Zoe Houpt, Marie-Elena LeBlanc Bellissimo, Shaina Momeni, Akin Mponjika, Tristyn Murray, Sanora Souphommanychanh, Eva Teece-Soter, Naomi Tyson, Ayla Vandenberg, Jamarie William, Tessa Ziemba Lee


Tallis Coleman, Lucy Dolenko, Mia Vogel-Alexiou, Maayan Salamo

Resident Lighting Designer

Arun Srinivasan

Associate Lighting Designer

Gabriel Cropley

Resident Costume Designer & Producer

Krista Dowson

Stage Manager

AJ Morra

Manager, School of CCDT 

Kathryn Fallowfield

Director, Marketing & Outreach

Natasha Jorge-Moore



Star Dreamer


Choreography: Santee Smith
Music: Cris Derkson
Costumes: Elaine Redding
Lighting Design: Arun Srinivasan
Dancers: Akin Mponjika, Eva Teece-Soter, Jamarie William, Larissa Christoff, Marie-Elena LeBlanc Bellissimo, Shaina Momeni, Tristyn Murray, Zada Britton, Zoe Houpt
Understudies: Lucy Dolenko, Mia Vogel-Alexiou

Star Dreamer celebrates the traditional story of the Seven Dancers and significance of the Pleiades to the Iroquoian Midwinter Ceremonies. During the winter solstice Shooting Star dreams the Seven Dancers into existence. Dancing and swirling in unison, they transform into the brightest stars in the sky while he falls back to Earth.



Choreography: Nicole Caruana
Music: Goran Bregović, Gabriel Yared
Costumes: Krista Dowson
Lighting Design: Arun Srinivasan
Dancers: Eva Teece-Soter, Jamarie William, Marie-Elena LeBlanc Bellissimo, Naomi Tyson, Sanora Souphommanychanh, Zoe Houpt
Understudies: Akin Mponjika, Lucy Dolenko, Tallis Coleman, Tristyn Murray

A testimony of resilience; we lament and we rise. 

that infinite feeling


Choreography: Alyssa Martin
Music: Girlpool, The Octopus Project, Moldy Peaches, Dexy’s Midnight Runners
Costumes: Krista Dowson
Lighting Design: Arun Srinivasan
Dancers: Ayla Vandenberg, Eva Teece-Soter, Isabel Dela Cruz, Larissa Christoff, Naomi Tyson, Shaina Momeni, Tessa Ziemba Lee, Tristyn Murray, Zada Britton
Understudies: Lucy Dolenko, Maayan Salamo, Mia Vogel-Alexiou, Tallis Coleman

What makes us unique should empower us to bask in the joyful moments of growing up, whether  those moments involve a kindred spirit, a great song, an imaginary friend or a quirky dance. 



Choreography: Jennifer Archibald
Music: Kaleema (feat. Chancha Via Circuito), Hauschka, Volker Bertelmann, Tokio Myers, Armand Amar
Costume Design: Angel Wong
Costume Production: Krista Dowson
Lighting Design: Arun Srinivasan
Dancers: Akin Mponjika, Isabel Dela Cruz, Jamarie William, Larissa Christoff, Marie-Elena LeBlanc Bellissmo, Naomi Tyson, Tristyn Murray, Zada Britton, Zoe Houpt
Understudies: Ayla Vandenberg, Mia Vogel-Alexiou, Shaina Momeni

when the mental lattice no longer provides an accurate map,
when inverse one-to-many mapping gives rise to ambiguities…
‘Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold’. 


A Sonata of Shadows


Choreography: Hanna Kiel
Original Music: Adam Campbell
Costumes: Aaliyah Sundar
Lighting Design: Arun Srinivasan
Dancers: Akin Mponjika, Ayla Vandenberg, Eva Teece-Soter, Isabel Dela Cruz, Jamarie William, Larissa Christoff, Marie-Elena LeBlanc Bellissimo, Naomi Tyson, Sanora Souphommanychanh, Shaina Momeni, Tessa Ziemba Lee, Tristyn Murray, Zada Britton, Zoe Houpt
Understudies: Lucy Dolenko, Mia Vogel-Alexiou, Tallis Coleman

There exists a positive aspect to pain, a resilience that leads to ascent. Sonata strives to illuminate this silver lining within the depths of hardship, conveying a message of resilience, growth, and the enduring beauty found in the delicate dance of life's contrasts.

The Company

Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre is a Toronto-based repertory company of exceptional young artists founded in 1980 by Artistic Director Deborah Lundmark and Managing Director Michael deConinck Smith. Highlights include appearances at Toronto’s Princess of Wales and Royal Alexandra Theatres, five invitations to the Canada Dance Festival, and tours to Singapore, Malaysia, China, Scotland, and NYC. CCDT has introduced over 350,000 young people to dance through its Ontario Arts Access program, and won the Toronto Arts Foundation’s prestigious Arts for Youth Award for its development of young artists and young audiences. In recent years, CCDT celebrated the José Limón Dance Company's 70th anniversary, performing The Winged at the Joyce Theater as part of their International Dance Festival, helped to launch Harbourfront's inaugural Junior International Children’s Festival and was featured in Canada’s premiere international dance festival, Fall For Dance North. 

Company Dancers

2023/24 Season

Photo by Kendra Epik

The Company

Artist Biographies

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Deborah Lundmark

Co-Founder, Artistic Director & Resident Choreographer

Deborah Lundmark, Co-Founder, Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer, has created more than 40 works for her company. These range from performance collaborations with the Danny Grossman Dance Company, Dancemakers and Toronto Dance Theatre to live co-presentations with blues artists Thompson Egbo-Egbo, Carlos del Junco and Jerome Godboo. From her Street Songs (1980) to the darkening green (2021), Lundmark has impressed audiences and critics alike with the power, precision and artistry of her unique company. She has commissioned over one hundred works from a who’s who of Canadian choreographers including David Earle, Carol Anderson, Tedd Robinson, Santee Smith, Roberto Campanella and Jera Wolfe and, from abroad, Colin Connor, Sidra Bell, Kevin Wynn, Roderick George, Jennifer Archibald and Alexander Whitley. Her company won Toronto Arts Foundation’s prestigious Arts for Youth Award and has been critically acclaimed as "a national treasure ... numbered among the ranks of Toronto’s top dance companies" by The Globe and Mail. Her dancers have gone on to perform with leading companies including the Limón Dance Company, Mark Morris Dance Group, Doug Varone and Dancers, Gallim Dance, Company Wayne McGregor and Skånes Dansteater, among many others. Most recently her film, the darkening green, has won numerous international awards including the Cannes World Film Festival’s Best Dance Film and Best Original Song, composed and performed by Greg Harrison and Frances Miller.

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Michael deConinck Smith

Co-Founder & Managing Director

Michael deConinck Smith has directed the staging of over three hundred CCDT productions including five appearances at the Canada Dance Festival. In 1988 he conceived and produced CCDT’s acclaimed collaboration with the Toronto Boys Choir and the Hanson Singers, the original WINTERSONG – dances for a sacred season, now a three-decade-old tradition. In 1990, Michael led CCDT’s first international tour to the People’s Republic of China, and the following year the premiere of SONGS of INNOCENCE and of EXPERIENCE, featuring commissions by ten leading choreographers, realized one of his long-cherished dreams. From 1997 to 2000 he planned CCDT’s extensive tours of Northern Ontario, and in 2002 led the company’s return to Southeast Asia with performances in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru, Malaysia. In 1994, Michael oversaw the purchase and renovation of CCDT’s 509 DANCE studios, now an intergenerational crossroads for Canadian dance. For fifteen years Michael has led his company’s Ontario Community Residencies Program introducing more than 300,000 young people to contemporary dance in theatres throughout Ontario. Most recently, he produced CCDT’s Scotland tour to the Commonwealth Youth Dance Festival followed by the company’s inaugural appearances at the storied Joyce Theater in New York City as part of the José Limón Dance Company’s International Dance Festival in celebration of their 70th Anniversary.

Photo by Gary Ray Rush

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Steph Harkness

Rehearsal Director 

Steph Harkness (they/them) is a dance artist and anthropologist from Mississauga, ON. Steph is an alumni of Etobicoke School of the Arts Secondary School and the Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre. During their time dancing with CCDT they had the opportunity to perform works by Kevin Wynn, Santee Smith, Deborah Lundmark, Carol Anderson, Alyssa Martin, and Roderick George. Steph continued their education at Purchase College, SUNY where they worked with Kristen Foote, Dava Fearlois, and Doug Varone and performed works by Norbert De La Cruz and José Limón. They graduated summa cum laude with a BFA in Dance and a BA in Anthropology. They have performed with Frog in Hand, Rock Bottom Movement, and Wind in the Leaves Collective as well as other freelance projects throughout Toronto. Steph is thrilled to be returning to CCDT this year as rehearsal director and they are immensely grateful for the incredible team they work alongside.


Jennifer Archibald


Jennifer Archibald is the founder and Artistic Director of the Arch Dance Company and Program Director of ArchCore40 Dance Intensives. She was appointed as the first female Resident Choreographer in Cincinnati Ballet’s 40-year history. Archibald has choreographed for Atlanta Ballet, Ailey II, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Kansas City Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, Grand Rapids Ballet, Ballet West, Sacramento Ballet, Nashville Ballet and Pittsburgh Ballet, and worked commercially for Tommy Hilfiger, NIKE, and MAC Cosmetics, as well as chart-listed artists. As a director she premiered WeAIghT, a film featuring current Ailey Company member James Gilmer that was selected for Best Choreography and Best Male Lead for Mountain View Film Festival. WeAIghT was an official selection for Lincoln Center’s 50th annual Dance on Camera Festival, San Francisco Film Festival and the Light Moves Festival in Ireland. She was awarded a Choreographic Fellowship for Ailey’s New Directions Choreography Lab and is a Joffrey Ballet Choreographic Winnings recipient. She was also the 2018-19 recipient of the CUNY Dance Initiative Residency. Archibald is currently an Acting Lecturer at the Yale School of Drama and was appointed as Guest Faculty Lecturer to develop the Hip Hop dance curriculum at Columbia/Barnard College. She is also a guest artist at several universities including Fordham/Ailey, Stanford University, Purchase College, Princeton, Virginia Commonwealth University, University of South Florida, Goucher College, Columbia College Chicago, Miami New World School of the Arts, South Carolina's Governor's School of the Arts, Ailey Fordham, Boston Conservatory, and Point Park.

LATTICE is Jennifer's third work for CCDT, following BYTIYE (2019) and SEEDS.whisper (2017).


Nicole Caruana


Nicole Caruana is the Founder and Artistic Director of UANA Dans which has toured Germany, Denmark, Spain, Greece, and New York. Nicole trained at The Conservatory of Dance at Purchase College under the direction of Nelly Van-Bommel and attended San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, London Contemporary Dance School, The American Dance Festival, Arts Umbrella Summer Dance Intensive, B12 Workshops, and gaga intensives in Tel Aviv. She has performed works by Ohad Naharin and Doug Varone has been mentored by Doug Varone, Nelly Van-bommel, Sue Bernhard, and Dr. Rosalind Newman for her compositional studies. She presented work at Earl Mosley’s Institute of the Arts as an Emerging Choreographer and at London Contemporary Dance School, as well as a collaboration with the Decoda Ensemble at the Purchase Performing Arts Center.

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Hanna Kiel


Dora winner Hanna Kiel is from Seoul, South Korea, and moved to Vancouver in 1996. She has presented her work at 12 Minutes Max, PlanB Singles and solos Festival, Dancing on the Edge Festival and Pulse at the Scotiabank Dance Centre in Vancouver. In 2007, she collaborated with Yoko Ono as a dancer and choreographer at the Centre A. Moving to Toronto in 2008, Hanna has continued choreographing for: Rosedale Heights School of the Arts, Conteur Dance Academy, George Brown Dance, Toronto Metropolitan University, School of Toronto Dance Theatre, Kenny Pearl’s Emerging Artist Intensive, IGNITE, ProArteDanza, Ballet Jörgen, Alias Dance Project, The National Ballet of Canada, Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre, Toronto Dance Theatre, Kaeja d'Dance, Dusk Dances and Decidedly Jazz Danceworks in Calgary. She also collaborated with Tarragon Theatre on their 23/24 production ‘Cockroach’ and is currently working with Silk BathCollective as a choreographer. In 2012 she won Northwest Dance Project’s ‘Pretty Creatives’ international choreographic competition and she was an E-choreographer in 2015 for Springboard Danse Montreal. Hanna is a founder and artistic director of Human Body Expression and a resident choreographer at Canada’s Ballet Jorgen.


Santee Smith


Santee Smith / Tekaronhiáhkhwa is a multidisciplinary artist from the Kahnyen’kehàka Nation, Turtle clan, Ohswé:ken/Six Nations of the Grand River. She premiered her debut work Kaha:wi - a family creation story, in 2004 and one year later founded Kaha:wi Dance Theatre which has grown into an internationally renowned company. As the artistic director of Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, Santee leads the vision for embodied storytelling, Indigenous creative process, collaborative exchange and presentations. Inspired by Onkwehonwe:neha, Santee’s work speaks to identity and humanity, role, and responsibility of artists in community. She is a sought-after teacher and speaker on the performing arts, Indigenous performance, and culture, spearheads collaborative exchanges and land-based practice through the "Inviting the Land to Shape Us - Series. Her new work SKéN:NEN premieres in May 2024. Santee is thrilled to remount Star Dreamer with CCDT's WinterSong.


Alyssa Martin


Alyssa Martin, founder and artistic director of Rock Bottom Movement, is a choreographer working on creating new absurd dance theatre. She’s created new work in residence at The Banff Centre, The Stratford Festival, Toronto Dance Theatre, The National Ballet (CreativAction) and Canadian Stage. Her work has earned her multiple Dora Mavor Moore Awards and the Canadian Stage Award for Direction. In addition to creating concert dance, she has worked on many collaborations in the realms of theatre, film, opera and music video. Alyssa has worked in residence at art centres including The Banff Centre, Canadian Stage and The Stratford Festival Lab. Alyssa is a graduate of Toronto Metropolitan University's Dance Program. Outside of the concert dance world she has choreographed musicals, plays and operas with Tarragon Theatre, Talk Is Free Theatre, Laurier University, and Ryerson University. She has created new work for Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre, George Brown Dance, Conteur Dance Academy and is a guest instructor in the theatre department at TMU. In addition to making new work, Alyssa leads “NONDancer Workshops,” accessible choreographed dance parties for anyone and everyone. 

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Adam Campbell


Adam Campbell - Originally from Prince Edward Island, Adam Campbell is a versatile composer, sound designer and musician. He has worked with Human Body Expression, CCDT, Kaeja d'Dance, Stratford Festival, Mirvish Productions, Blyth Festival, Edmonton Opera and more, and is a member of both TorQ Percussion Quartet and the Ladom Ensemble. Adam lives in Stratford, Ontario, with his wife Alice and their cats Ninja and Nazca.


AJ Morra

Production Stage Manager

Based in Toronto, A.J. Morra is a graduate of the Technical Theatre Program at Toronto Metropolitan University, and has enjoyed an active career as a Technical Director, Production Manager, and Stage Manager for contemporary dance, circus, and theatre. Selected credits include three seasons with Toronto Dance Theatre, and assorted projects with ProArte Danza, Dreamwalker Dance Company, Groundling Theatre Company, Holla Jazz, Zero Gravity Circus,  Soundstreams, and Signal Theatre. 

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Krista Dowson

Resident Costume Designer & Producer

Krista Dowson learned to sew at her parents’ dining room table during her 14-year tenure as a ballerina with the National Ballet of Canada. From the stage to behind the scenes, this self-taught costumier enjoys making spandex look beautiful and the challenge of turning 2-dimensional designs into 3-dimensional apparel. Dowson has had the privilege of designing and building costumes for ProArteDanza, the National Ballet of Canada, the Hillside Beach Club in Turkey, Casa Loma’s Legends of Horror, CCDT, and Hit & Run Dance Productions in addition to a number of independent artists locally and internationally.

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Angel Wong

Costume Designer

Angel Wong trained at the Australian Ballet School beginning her career as a ballerina, performing with the Hong Kong Ballet, English National Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Ballet Jӧrgen Canada, ProArteDanza, and Opera Atelier. She studied at OCAD University and earned a Bachelor of Design. She’s worked intensely within the Toronto dance community with choreographers such as Robert Stephen, Jacob Niedzwiecki, and Gadfly. She has created costumes for Hit & Run Dance Productions and the National Ballet of Canada’s Tutu Project.


Arun Srinivasan

Resident Lighting Designer

Arun has worked extensively in the performing arts. He trained at York University earning a Specialized Honours B.F.A.  Dance collaborators have included Robert Desrosiers, Peter Chin, Danny Grossman, COBA, Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, Tiger Princess Dance Projects, The National Ballet School & ProArteDanza.  He has been the resident designer for Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre since 2002.  Theatre credits include The Stratford Festival, Factory Theatre, The Canadian Stage Co., The Globe Theatre, The World Stage Theatre Festival, fu-GEN, Cahoots Theatre Projects, k’Now Theatre & Buddies In Bad Times Theatre.  His career has garnered him 8 Dora Mavor Moore Award nominations for Outstanding Lighting Design in both the theatre and dance categories. Currently, he is designing projects for Musical Stage Company, Soulpepper Theatre, Pleaides Theatre and The Art of Time Ensemble.  Arun has had the privilege of teaching lighting design at York University, Ryerson University, the University of Waterloo and mentorship at The National Theatre School.  Productions have taken him to Ukraine, Malaysia, Singapore, India, China and across North America.


CCDT Gratefully Acknowledges

~Arts Access Fund~

~Ontario Arts Council~

~Ontario Arts Council's Ontario Touring Program~

~Ontario Arts Foundation~

~Ontario Trillium Foundation~

~Toronto Arts Council~

~Harbourfront Centre~

~Bulmash-Siegel Fund~

~Toronto District School Board~

~Toronto Catholic District School Board~

We express appreciation to our CCDT Board of Directors:

Gerry Maddison | President/Chairperson

Philip Akin | Vice President/Vice Chairperson

Tom Sheppard | Treasurer

Paula Prociuk Blacklock | Officer

CCDT gives thanks to the following Arts Schools for their contributions to supporting the artistry and development of our Company dancers:

Cawthra Park Secondary School - Regional Arts Program

Earl Haig Secondary School - Claude Watson Arts Program

Arts Unionville

Wexford Collegiate

Etobicoke School of the Arts

Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts

Rosedale Heights School of the Arts

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