Canberra Dance Theatre (CDT) has a history of connecting professional dance art with community dance. It grew out of the National University Dance Ensemble (NUDE), established by Graham Farquhar in 1970, which in 1977 was under the leadership of Diana Shohet, Lorna Marshall and Graham Farquhar.
In 1978 a new organisation was created, Canberra Dance Ensemble, with Stephanie Burridge joining the artistic team. With the departure of Diana and Lorna later that year, Stephanie took on the leadership role, being named the first Artistic Director. CDE was incorporated in 1981, and in 1989 the name was changed to Canberra Dance Theatre to serve 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)
- Jacqui Simmonds (2020 -). Jacqui was Artistic Coordinator from 2018.
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.