Contemporary Dance Theater
has merged with
and together become

We celebrate CDT's 50th Anniversary as we move forward into a new future for new dance in Cincinnati

Support the MergerREAD THE PRESS RELEASESeason Announcement Coming SoonAdult classes re-vamped in College HillKids Classes Moved to Hartwell

CDT's social media accounts have been archived.

Join us on the other side:

ABOUT Contemporary Dance Theater

Contemporary Dance Theater was founded in 1972 by Jefferson James in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 2021, CDT merged with MamLuft&Co. Dance to become Mutual Dance Theatre and Arts Centers.

Moving bodies, moving souls: the essence of contemporary dance. Connecting the community with diverse and socially relevant dance and performance art.


Contemporary Dance Theater’s Mission

Connecting the community with diverse and socially relevant dance and performance art by presenting work that is evocative in content, entertaining, and enlarging our sense of community, working in partnership with choreographers and dancers to create and perform movement-based work, and cultivating personal interaction and dialogue that integrates contemporary dance and performance art into life.


What did Contemporary Dance Theater do?

  • Present contemporary dance and time arts that reflect the diversity of style and culture.
  • Present work that is serious in content, entertaining, and has a social message or context.
  • Provide production assistance to others for the creation and presentation of movement-based work and time arts projects.
  • Deliver educational community outreach with an emphasis on integrating art into community life.
  • Champion the philosophy of different techniques or languages, different artistic views, and different styles.
  • Mix the new with the familiar, and the challenging with the more accessible.


The College Hill Town Hall, home to Contemporary Dance Theater

Contemporary Dance Theater operated a dance studio and studio theater facility in the College Hill Town Hall located near Larch and Belmont in College Hill since the mid-90s. Built in 1886 by master architect Samuel Hannaford and dedicated in January 1887, it was the only such building ever owned by the village before its annexation into the City of Cincinnati. There are many such buildings in communities of the period, but as the only public building in College Hill, it is starkly different from the surrounding built environment.  In 1978, the College Hill Town Hall was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, qualifying because of its place in the area’s history and because of its historically significant architecture.

The College Hill Town Hall consists of three studios, a small meeting room, and a suite of offices.

Mutual Dance Theatre and Arts Centers now operates the College Hill Town Hall, continuing its legacy of housing Modern Dance and a community space for the arts. Space is available for a variety of educational and arts activities. Classes have been re-vamped for adults, and children’s classes have been moved to Mutual’s other locations.


Professional Affiliations

NATIONAL PERFORMANCE NETWORK. Contemporary Dance Theater became an original partner member of the National Performance Network in 1985 by invitation. Contemporary Dance Theater was proud to be a part of this network of 50-75 presenters, who are committed to the presentation of innovative and challenging forms of dance, alternative theatre, mime, puppetry, experimental theater, performance art, and music. The NPN is an independently incorporated organization, originally founded by Dance Theater Workshop (of NYC) in cooperation with CDT and other similarly dedicated organization. During a season, CDT presented sponsored events and a number of partially-assisted events. Mutual continues this tradition, both as a presenter and member of NPN.

GREATER CINCINNATI DANCE ALLIANCE. Contemporary Dance Theater was proud to be a founding member of Greater Cincinnati Dance Alliance, a coalition of dance-makers and lovers of dance who are working together to elevate dance in Cincinnati. CDT’s Founder and Artistic Director throughout its history, Jefferson James, is proud to co-chair the GCDA.


A Keystone Role in the Community

Contemporary Dance Theater had and continues (as Mutual) an important, two-fold role in the community. On one hand, CDT was a community-based organization who provides support to local artists of various disciplines, and on the other, it was a presenter of national and international dance artists.

Contemporary Dance Theater’s history home continues to be a center for all kinds of dance activity — classes, workshops, performances, meetings, parties, social dances, video shoots, and rehearsals. In addition, through the facility at The College Hill Town Hall, Mutual Arts continues to provide assistance through administration, mailing list and bulk-mail, publicity, technical equipment, and performance opportunities available to the artist community at minimal cost.

Mutual Arts continues CDT’s legacy of sponsoring dance and performance companies. Cincinnati’s exposure to a variety of styles and ideas is vital to students, audience members, and the community at large. Contemporary Dance Theater worked for 49 years pre-merger to fill a void in Cincinnati: while there were many young dancers, there were very few professional choreographers and only a handful of dance companies currently working in southern Ohio. The need for contemporary dance to be seen in Cincinnati in its infinite variety was and remains clear.

Contemporary Dance Theater developed its programming with attention to the diversity in the field, as well as within the viewing audience. Its mission was to present the variety of the field, to educate, and to program for our community. CDT chose artists of different aesthetic visions, styles, varying dance vocabularies, as well as of different cultural backgrounds and traditions.

CDT was a leader in Southern Ohio and continues under Mutual as the only presenter within the area who devotes its programming solely to Modern Dance. The organization has a large responsibility to present variety and quality and to continue to discover new artists, while also keeping in-touch with familiar artists whose work is maturing and/or changing.

CDT filled a real void in Cincinnati by being a long-time provider of artistic creation space and a production laboratory,  offering an affordable and supportive space where emerging artists and challenging projects could happen.

ABOUT Jefferson James

Contemporary Dance Theater founder Jefferson James

JEFFERSON JAMES, the founder and Artistic Director of Contemporary Dance Theater, attended Juilliard School of Music, Columbia University, and graduated from the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music. In New York, James studied directly under founders of Modern Dance themselves, Merce Cunningham, José Limón, and Martha Graham Dance Company. She has received choreography fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Ohio Arts Council, the Ohio Governor’s Award in Arts Administration, and the OhioDance Award. In 2008, Ms. James received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Scripps Corbett awards committee. Under the direction and leadership of Jefferson James, CDT presented over 210 dance presentations, overseen numerous productions of new work, and has been a partner of the National Performance Network since its beginning over 25 years ago. Today, she continues as Artistic Director Emeritus with Mutual Dance Theatre and Arts Centers.




Ballet Hispánico


Sidra Bell Dance New York



Area Choreographers Festival featuring choreography by Glenda Figueiredo & Colleen Byrne, Susan Honer, Kelsey Lee, Chloe Napoletano & Hana Newfeld, and Hannah Williamson


Ronald K. Brown / Evidence
(Others canceled due to COVID-19)


ZviDance presents: On the Road
Everett (from Providence RI) presents: Good Grief
Area Choreographers Festival featuring choreography by, Corrine Bailey, David Choate, Kent De Spain, Diane Germaine, the MCRC Project: Joan Ferrante / Donna Grisez & Renee McCafferty, and Jeanne Mam-Luft/MamLuft&Co. Dance


Dance Place presents: WHAT’S GOING ON​
Koresh Dance Company
Area Choreographers Festival featuring choreography by Theresa Bautista, Leslie Dworkin, Jeri Gatch, Ashley Goos, Jon Lawson, and Hannah Williamson


Tiffany Mills Company
The Seldoms: Power Goes


​Everett: The Freedom Project
Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company
Area Choreographers Festival featuring choreography by Anna Brown Massey, Paige Cunningham Caldarella, Diane Germaine, Lindsey Gruber, Holly Handman-Lopez, and Judith Mikita


Paul Taylor Dance Company
Lucky Plush Productions
Area Choreographers Festival featuring choreography by Selene B. Carter, Steven P. Evans, Jeri Deckard Gatch, Diane Germaine, Vivian Kim, and Kent de Spain


Doug Varone and Dancers
Koresh Dance Company
David Rousseve
Rennie Harris RHAW
Area Choreographers Festival featuring choreography by Ka-Ron Brown Lehman, Judith Mikita, Nikki Wetter, and Steven P Evans


Area Choreographers Festival featuring choreography by Alexandra Brannon, Kent De Spain, Leslie Dworkin, Tricia Gelmini, Susan Honer, and Ka-Ron Brown Lehman


​Koresh Dance Company
Luna Negra Dance Theater
Robert Moses’ Kin
Area Choreographers Festival featuring choreography by Colleen Byrne, Leslie Dworkin, Diane Germaine, Judith Mikita, and Stacy Sims and Alison Vodnoy


​Bill Young/Colleen Thomas & Dancers
im’ij-r / Amy Seiwert
David Dorfman Dance
The Seldoms
Area Choreographers Festival with Colleen Byrne, Jeri Gatch, The Greene/Medcalf Movement Project, Judith Mikita, Pones, Inc., and Shawn Womack


​Rhythm in Shoes
oLive Dance Theatre
Bridgman/Packer Dance
Choreographers Without Companies with Tricia Gelmini, Diane Germaine, Melissa Heston, Ka-Ron Brown Lehman, Demetrius Klein, Kori Martodam, and Ashley Powell


Lar Lubovitch Dance Company
Jane Comfrot & Company
Maureen Fleming
Gesel Mason Dance Projects
Choreographers Without Companies with Padma Chebrolu, Jeri D. Gatch, Diane Germaine, Rachel James, Ka-Ron Brown Lehman, and Rebecca Bedel and Holly Price


Dayton Contemporary Dance Company
Wideman/Davis Dance
Pilobolus Dance Theater
Koresh Dance Company
35th Anniversary Choreographers Festival with Jacqueline Garcia, Diane Germaine, Whitney Jacobs & Matt Woodring, Ka-Ron Brown Lehman, Jeanne Mam-Luft with MamLuft&Co. Dance, Susan Moser, and Shawn Womack


Rhythm in Shoes
Chen & Dancers
Teo Castellanos
Tiffany Mills Company
Urban Bush Women
Choreographers Without Companies with Rachel James, Jeri Gatch, Diane Germaine & Michelle Bump, Ashley Suttlar, Judith Mikita, Jason Hatcher, Tricia Gelmini


Ronald K. Brown/Evidence
Risa Jaraslow & Dancers
Ben Munisteri
Bridgman/Packer Dance
Phoenix Dance Theatre
Choreographers Without Companies with Susan Moser, Whitney Jacobs, Fanchon Shur, Alfred Dove, Paige Cunningham


Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane and Company
Everett Dance Theatre
Pat Graney Company
Rennie Harris/Pure Movement
Jump Rhythm Jazz Project
Choreographers Without Companies with Cheryl Wallace, Rachel James, Diane Germaine, Jason Hatcher, Judith Mikita, Fanchon Shur


Salia ni Seydou
Groundworks Dancetheater
Sean Curran Company
Joe Goode Performance Group
Axis Dance Company
Choreographers Without Companies with Cheryl Wallace, Jason Hatcher, Diane Germaine, Judith Mikita, Jeri Gatch, Ashley Eiseman, Carrie Rohman, Susan Moser


Maureen Fleming
Pilobolus Dance Theater
JAZZDANCE by Danny Buraczeski
Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company
Dayton Contemporary Dance Company
Dance Alloy
Choreographers Without Companies


Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane & Company
Rhythm in Shoes
Everett Dance Theatre
Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE
Choreographers Without Companies


Dayton Contemporary Dance Company
Urban Bush Women
Pat Graney Company
Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company
Choreographers Without Companies


Joe Goode Performance Group
Parsons Dance Company
Chen & Dancers
Garth Fagan Company
Maureen Fleming
Regional Choreographers Concert


Mark Haim with pianist Andre Gribou
Stephen Petronio Company
JAZZDANCE by Danny Buraczeski
Sean Curran Company
Dos Alas: Grupo AfroCuba des Matanzas and Los Hermanas Cepeda
25th Anniversary Concert with Cheryl Wallace, Jan Van Dyke, Peggy Lyman,
Danny Buraczeski


Liz Lerman Dance Exchange
Doug Varone & Dancers
Dance Alloy
Rhythm in Shoes
Urban Bush Women
One Man Theater Company
Choreographers Without Companies


JAZZDANCE by Danny Buraczeski
Ko Thi Dance Company (Ferne Caulker, Artistic Director) Milwaukee, WI
Lewitzky Dance Company (on this legendary company’s final company tour)
Susan Miller
Bridgman/Packer Dance
Jane Comfort & Company
Grupo AfroCuba
Choreographers Without Companies


Neta Pulvermacher & Company
David Dorfman Dance (CDT’s first presentation at the Aronoff Center for the Arts)
Parsons Dance Company
David Rouseve/Realty
Soweta Street Beat
Second Hand Dance
Choreographers Without Companies