Happiness Is ... Canberra Dance Theatre. Artistic director: Jacqui Simmonds. Various choreographers. The Street Theatre, Friday, October 12 and Saturday October 13 at 7pm and Sunday, October 14 at 5pm. thestreet.org.au. More about CDT: canberradancetheatre.org/. In 2018. Canberra Dance Theatre is celebrating 40 years of teaching, performing and creating dance in the ACT community. To celebrate its 40th year, CDT is presenting Happiness Is ..., a program of short works at The Street Theatre. It's a reflection of past glories as well as celebrating the present and looking towards the future. Jacqui Simmonds, who's been CDT's artistic director since May last year, thinks the company has survived for four decades because people - ranging from adolescents to retirees - like to get involved and occupy themselves physically and mentally as well as enjoying the social element and working with dance professionals. And, she says, those involved have a real desire to perform. "People love to see performances and love to do it themselves." She says CDT has "a wonderful sense of inclusivity, community and diversity", adding, "The sense of community dance is there all the time: people are there to have a great time." Simmonds says of CDT's classes and productions, "We always look for a high standard, of course, but we invite anyone ... People do it because they want to do it." Many of the current participants will be dancing in Happiness Is... and there will be returning or past artists whose work will also be performed. Stephanie Burridge, who was CDT's first artistic director, is returning to perform a solo work, Fragile, that explores space and time. She first choreographed and performed it in Singapore in 2001. Simmonds says, "It's danced to the music of The Swan by Saint-Saens." Burridge has also contributed what Simmonds calls "the interestingly ambiguous" MIST featuring Anca Frankenhaeuser with live violin accompaniment by Kailin Tong. Frankenhaeuser is also co-choreographer with Patrick Harding-Irmer of the duet Handsong, which they will perform together. Another former artistic director, Liz Lea, set up the GOLD (Growing Old Disgracefully) dancers as a group for older people during her tenure. The GOLDs will be featured in The Green Fuse, choreographed by Carol Brown, a work based on the imagery of energy and destruction in Dylan Thomas's poem The Force That Through the Green Fuse Drives the Flower. Woman of the River, a solo piece by Elizabeth Cameron Dalman, who founded Australian Dance Theatre in Adelaide, was the first solo show she choreographed for CDT in 1988. "It was inspired by her time in Italy," Simmonds says. Young dancer Amanda Tutalo will perform it in this show. Yet another solo is Amalia Hordern's Pamoja, created in 2004 to a score by Jacinta Dunlop, has a solo excerpt taken from it and remounted by Philip Piggin performed by Grace Bannister-Tyrrell. Other pieces include A Maze In Day, a contemporary ballet work by Tokyo's K-Ballet Company star Fusako Skelton performed to music by Scott Joplin, and a restaging for The Street Theatre of Lea’s Australian Dance Award-winning Annette with the GOLDs. Some of CDT's performing groups will present new work including choreographers Rachael Hilton and Melissa Lee's The Other I, a group work about struggling with loss in the contemporary dance Hilal style created by Suraya Hilal. Miss Burlesque ACT 2016 Jazida, who was an invited performer at the 2018 Burlesque Hall of Fame in Las Vegas, has drawn on her expertise with fans and veils to choreograph two works, Because I Love You and Spice World. There's more to discover but it's worth mentioning the title work, Happiness Is ... . which has been choreographed by Emma Saunders as the finale of the show. Simmonds, who is performing "just a little bit" in this section, says the 13 dancers come from CDT's various programs - ballet, contemporary and the GOLDs. The participants have worked together one day a month all year to explore dancing and movement together and talking about what "happiness" means to them, in order to create the work. "We wanted to invite people from across CDT to take part," Simmonds says. CDT grew out of the National University Dance Ensemble, established by plant biophysicist Graham Farquhar in 1970 as a creative outlet during his PhD studies. By 1977 NUDE was led by Diana Shohet and Lorna Marshall as well as Farquhar. In 1978 a new organisation, Canberra Dance Ensemble, was created and Burridge joined the team. Burridge became artistic director later that year, a position she held until 2001. CDE was incorporated in 1981 and in 1989 its name was changed to Canberra Dance Theatre to indicate a theatrical broadening of its vision. Hordern (2002-06), Megan Millband (2007-10) and Lea (2010-16) followed Burridge. Simmonds, who came last year, had her secondary education in Canberra and studied at the Brian Lawrence School of Ballet. Her most recent job was associate dean of students and services at the Australian College of Physical Education. She had previously been head of the dance program there. Farquhar is now patron of CDT. He was awarded the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science in 2015 and the Kyoto Prize in 2017 and was named Senior Australian of the Year for 2018.