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About Us

About Us

CMDE began informally in the 1950s when founder Shirley Ubell opened “The Studio” in a Hackensack storefront. Her vision was to provide training in the art of modern dance in a non-competitive, non-commercial environment that was open to everyone. shirley reaching while on stage in a long sleeved pink blouse and black pants Shirley believed that dance training should be available both to talented young people with professional aspirations, as well as to people of all ages and abilities who danced just for the fun of it and that people should have equal access to the arts regardless of their financial situation. Shirley wanted the organization she created to grow beyond the vision of one individual and to belong to the community it served.

Therefore, in 1962, with the help of her husband Earl, she founded the non-profit Center for Modern Dance Education (CMDE). CMDE purchased its facility at 84 Euclid Avenue in Hackensack in 1970. Our location continues to serve as CMDE’s home base, but the Center offers programs in schools and at a variety of other locations.


Center for Modern Dance Education

through the years

Our timeline for the past 50 Years.

CMDE’s entire 50th Anniversary Program.

CMDE archives can be viewed by appointment in the office


View our Board of Directors, Staff, Faculty, Alumni, and Funders below. They make CMDE’s program all possible through their dedication and donations. If you are interested in donating to CMDE, please donate through Paypal.

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web bullet Artistic Staff and Faculty

web bullet Alumni

web bullet Funders

web bullet Board of Directors