Canberra Dance Theatre (CDT) has a history of connecting professional dance art with community dance that started in 1977. It began life as the New University Dance Ensemble (NUDE) in 1977 under the leadership of Diana Shohet, Lorna Marshall and Graham Farquhar. In 1978, NUDE became the Canberra Dance Ensemble, and the company under the leadership of the first Artistic Director, Stephanie Burridge. A name change to Canberra Dance Theatre in 1983 served a wider and more theatrical vision.
Since the beginning CDT has brought together significant Australian dancers, choreographers, musicians and designers, including Dr Stephanie Burridge, Dr Elizabeth Cameron Dalman OAM, Kai Tai Chan, Julia Cotton, Patrick Harding-Irmer, Anca Frankenhauser, Beth Shelton, Anna Smith, Dr Cheryl Stock OAM, Andris Toppe, Wendy Wallace, Bernadette Walong, Graeme Watson, Tammi Gissell, Sue Healey and Amalia Horden.
- Diana Shohet and Lorna Marshall (1977–1978)
- Dr Stephanie Burridge (1978–2001)
- Amalia Hordern (2002–2006)
- Megan Millband (2007–2009)
- Liz Lea (2010–2016)
CDT has been associated with a very long list of other dance artists, including (big breath): the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Dance Theatre Student Ensemble, Adelina Larsson, Aida Amirkhanian, Aku Kadoga, Alison McLean, Angelina Taylor, Annette Douglas, Aradia Ross, Bernadette McLachlan, Cadi McCarthy, Cameron Macmaster, Cameron Wilson, Dr Cheryl Stock OAM, Phillip Adams, Chi Long, David Corbett, David Keaney, Diana Shohet, E. Upton, Elizabeth Sentfleben, Fiona George, Glen Murray, Fiona Wort, Full Circle Sacred Ceremonies, Gail Mellis, Gary Lang, Glenda Cloughley, Graham Blanco, Graham Jones, Gretel Burgess, Hannah Rechter, Hayley Schmidt, Hee Raa Yoo, Jamie Bell, Jane Dudley, Jane Ingall, Jane Thomson, Jennifer Barry, Jo Perry, Judith Clingan, Kai Tai Chan, Karen Strahan, Kate Kelsey, Kellie Phillips, Kerrie Murphy, Kerry Ann Maguire, Kirrily Lucas, Kirsty Hilson, Kylie Griffiths, Lailah Masiga, Jade Dewi Tyas Tunggal, Lee-Fay Low, Lesley Wheeler, Licette Gus, Lorna Marshall, Meg Millband, Merle Ketley, Mirramu Dance Company, Monica Wensing, Niki Shepherd, Patrick Harding-Irmer, Paul Saliba, Philip Piggin, Julia Cotton, Rachael Hilton, Rachel Lewis, Rachel Wylde-Brown, Raymond Sawyer, Rita Markwell, Russell Page, Sandra Inman, Sue Davies, T. Twigg, and Theresa Pattugalen.