In 1974, a group of independent dancers, led by founders Andraya Smith and Marcy Radler, joined together to create, commission and perform new choreography. Peggy Baker and Robert Desrosiers were among the early company members. In the 70s and 80s, the company's artistic directors - Anna Blewchamp, Carol Anderson, Pat Miner, Baker, Pat Fraser and Bill James led the company in building a distinctive Canadian voice for dance. Under the artistic direction of Serge Bennathan from 1990 to 2006, the company's reputation continued to spread throughout Canada, the Americas and Europe.
In 2002, Bennathan and Andrea Vagianos established The Centre for Creation in its current home in Toronto's Distillery Historic District. The organization's new space includes a state-of-the-art 98-seat performance venue and a second rehearsal studio named after the late composer, company friend and advocate Michael J. Baker.
From 2006-2014, award-winning choreographer, performer and community leader Michael Trent redefined the company's relationship to contemporary practice as its Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer. Prior to his departure in 2014, Trent launched the Incubation Production House (IPH) Model, a promising new way of re-framing the company's dance-making and its relationship to the public. The IPH Model creates the new position of Curator, who replaces the traditional role of Artistic Director. No longer relying on a Resident Choreographer and one-off commissions to make dances for the company, the model invites three Resident Artists (RA), exceptional choreographers from the local, national or international fields, to create work over staggered three year terms.
Benjamin Kamino and Emi Forster were the inaugural Co-Curators, with Amelia Ehrhardt taking up the sole position in September 2015.
Dancemakers’ home is The Centre for Creation, in Toronto's Distillery Historic District.
Photo, L-R: Danny Wild, Carolyn Woods, Shannon Cooney, Jay Gower Taylor, Julia Aplin, Photo, L-R: Danny Wild, Carolyn Woods, Shannon Cooney, Jay Gower Taylor, Julia Aplin, in "The Invisible Life of Joseph Finch" by Serge Bennethan. Photo by David Hou.