The School of Toronto Dance Theatre was established in 1968 by the founders of Toronto Dance Theatre: Patricia Beatty, David Earle, and Peter Randazzo.
In early days, a simple schedule of classes was posted and all classes were taught by company directors or members. The management and maintenance of the School was a collaborative effort, with senior students, especially scholarship students, taking on the responsibilities of cleaning, scheduling classes, arranging accompanists, helping the company in wardrobe, distributing posters for company performances, and stuffing envelopes with donation appeals. During this period, Toronto Dance Theatre – and the School, which was part of the company – had no permanent home and were housed in a series of rented studios.
In January 1978, after a decade of growth, the School incorporated separately from the company. In 1979 the Professional Training Program was established by David Earle, and together the company and School moved into the studios and offices of their current home at 80 Winchester Street. To date the School maintains its affiliation with Toronto Dance Theatre, currently under the artistic direction of Andrew Tay, who succeeded Christopher House in August 2020.
Under the artistic direction of Patricia Fraser since 1993, the School is devoted to providing a broad spectrum of movement classes for the serious dance artist and for the community. It comprises four divisions:
- Professional Training Program (PTP): a full-time, three-year, post-secondary program providing training to students intent on a career in contemporary dance
- Summer Intensive: an intensive summer program for serious students and young professionals
- Adult Recreational Classes: weekly drop-in classes and term courses for the recreational dancer
- Young Dancers’ Program: weekly classes introducing children and young people ages 3 to 17 to creative movement and contemporary dance.
The School has served as the foundation and inspiration for generations of dancers. We continue to draw from the finest aspects of our legacy while looking to new directions in dance to develop artistic vision.