FORTY40 Gala: Celebrate 40 years of the city's Contemporary Dance Theater

Kathy Valin

When someone falls in love with dance, it's often a lifetime experience. It's been that way for Jefferson James, founder, artistic director and CEO of Contemporary Dance Theater (CDT), today Cincinnati's premiere presenter of a diversity of contemporary dance regularly appearing at downtown's Aronoff Center.

Over the years, thanks to James, CDT has evolved from a now-defunct shoestring performing company (from which dancers like Peggy Lyman, who blossomed into a Graham soloist, graduated) into a lauded nonprofit based in College Hill's elegant and spacious Old Town Hall.

The space functions as a performance venue for dancers, actors and musicians, in addition to hosting dance classes (from ballet to Hip Hop), workshops and rehearsals.   

Saturday, friends and supporters of CDT will celebrate CDT's 40th season with a FORTY40 Gala at the historic Emery Theatre in Over-the-Rhine.

The fundraiser offers guests food, beverages, dancing and mixing and mingling on the Emery's stage to global Jazz-Pop fusion from pianist Billy Larkin. Of course, there's a requisite City Proclamation, silent auction and retrospective displays of photos, programs and costumes, plus video presentations looking back on CDT's rich history.

Contemporary Dance Theater's FORTY40 Gala takes place 7-10 p.m. Saturday at The Emery Theatre. Tickets are $40 and available at

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