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Take Center Stage at The Center for Contemporary Dance

By Ratasha Smith

Whether you want to learn to pop and lock in hip hop or perfect your grand jeté in ballet, The Center for Contemporary Dance (CCD) in Winter Park, FL caters to dancers of all ages and experience levels.

Founded in 2001 by executive director, Craig W. Johnson and artistic director, Dario J. Moore, the non-profit center produces professional stage productions and provides arts education programs to diverse dancers across the five Central Florida counties. The center has multiple awards from the National Endowment for the Arts; Dance Studio Life Magazine called it "a mini dance utopia."

The CCD defines contemporary dance as "anything from the fusion of classical dance forms to a modern interpretation of world dance," offering classes like "Move It, Baby," designed for two and three-year-olds, to one of their newest classes: " Elementary African."

In addition to the classes, the CCD offers a pre-professional program for serious dancers ages 9-17 and 18-25. "Graduates of the Program," says Johnson, "can be found in renowned dance companies and prestigious college dance programs across the nation."

Dance education is a priority not just for pre-professionals but for any individual attending the center. "While competitions and recitals are not a bad thing (if done correctly, they are another form of education)," Johnson explains, "we believe a studio should be focused first on educating students in safe technique, career longevity, artistic development and dance history."

There are at least two performance concerts a year open to both amateur and seasoned dancers. Concerts showcase what students have been learning during the 4-month rehearsal process. Johnson tells us that these concerts are "known for their unexpected and exciting themes, including a contemporary African ballet, a full-length Native American-inspired concert and a show where all the pieces were reimagined interpretations of classic Broadway songs." Pre-professionals have the opportunity to perform more often; they are often booked at corporate and community events.

All instructors at the CCD have at least 10 years of experience or a degree in dance and are assessed annually, ensuring they can provide the best education possible to students.

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About The Author

Ratasha Smith is a correspondent for the Inner-City Newspaper in New Haven,...

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