Small City, Big Talent


When modern dance came to town:

Highlights of dance in the City of Victoria, British Columbia,

from 1978 to 2021


In keeping with its mission to “support the development, creation, presentation, and preservation of the dance arts through collaboration and diverse media to reach the widest possible audience,” Suddenly Dance Theatre Dance is publishing its first dance book in summer 2022.


Written by Robin J. Miller, Small City, Big Talent chronicles high points in Victoria’s dance history, both in studio and on stage, over a span of 43 years. 


The book begins in 1978, when two local dance legends––Lynda Raino and Constantine Darling––bumped into each other on Government Street. They’d danced together in Montreal years before, but neither knew the other was here. Together, they brought the excitement (and controversy) of contemporary dance to this previously ballet-bound city, and created the circumstances for other momentous occasions, including the creation of Lynda Raino Dance and the Victoria Arts Collaborative; the advent of world-wide sensation Big Dance; and the commissioning of A Conversation, a piece co-created by Lynda Raino and one of the best choreographers in the world today, Crystal Pite, who, as you will learn in the book, considers her life and training in Victoria to be the foundation of her success.


It is also through Lynda and Constantine that the small city of Victoria has been able to boast two other big-city-size successes. Without Constantine beginning to produce major dance shows (including Mikhail Baryshnikov’s White Oak Project), the Victoria Dance Series, now known as Dance Victoria, would never have come to be. Without Lynda, David Ferguson would never have met Miles Lowry, and Suddenly Dance Theatre––founded to provide performance opportunities for professional and pre-professional dancers from Lynda and Connie’s dance schools––would not be celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.


All proceeds from Small City, Big Talent will go to Suddenly Dance Theatre’s Fountain of Youth Program for dance creators under age 26.

Small City, Big Talent by Robin J. Miller

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