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Photo by Phoebe Harrington & Zoe Harrington from "Dzunukwa"

Suddenly Dance Theatre presents

Fountain of Youth Program 2024

Suddenly Dance Theatre's Fountain of Youth Program aims to support dance artists under the age of 26 to build new and diverse choreographic voices.

Our 2024 recipient is: RAYN COOK-THOMAS

Over the course of the next few months, choreographer Rayn Cook-Thomas and dancer SARAH MERCER will inhabit studios at Dance Victoria who are generously supporting the program with rehearsal space.

Working with mentor KATHY LANG of Victoria’s Seda Dance, Rayn will have the opportunity to develop a duet through an independently-driven yet supported personal process to allow for a richness and vibrancy that is often missed in fast-paced creative processes.

Looking ahead: We will present a mixed program of works and a chance to mingle with the choreographers at a LIVE presentation. This will be held at Dance Victoria Studios in July 2024 - dates TBA.


Photo of Rayn Cook-Thomas by David Hou

We are pleased to introduce:


Rayn Cook-Thomas (dancer/choreographer), a recent graduate of York University's dance BFA program, is an emerging Kwakwaka'wakw artist who specializes in contemporary dance and choreography. Rayn was born on Vancouver Island, the homelands of his people (the Kwakwaka'wakw, Nuu-chah-nulth, and Lekwungen) and he now works in Tkaronto. Rayn was the recipient of the Ivy McGeachie Award for Young Choreographers in 2019 for his work The Picker, which in 2020, won the Inspired Dance Film Festival Schools Division in Australia. His newest work, Ancestor 73, was part of a residency in Victoria, BC, and appeared in the CBA Aboriginal Law Symposium which featured The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould; this piece was recently performed by the York Dance Ensemble, and is currently entering further creative processes with other emerging artists for future performances. While sometimes the stories of his people come out in the form of choreography, these legends are the living truth of the Kwakwaka’wakw nation; the culture is in Rayn’s DNA, and his fascination in the magic of his people will be Rayn’s lifelong journey. Learn more:


“... we will be working with the concept of connection and vulnerability. Drawing on our own experiences, we will explore how individuals overcome the gravity of their past to experience true connection in the present.


This work will investigate the interaction of multiple timelines; past, present and future. Studying the non-linearity of our lived experiences as individuals with trauma, we will uncover the tethers and strings of our lives and how they affect our ability to connect through movement.”

Photo of Rayn Cook-Thomas by Blythe Russell

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Mentor for Suddenly Dance Theatre's FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH Program


Kathy Lang, a freelance contemporary dance artist in Victoria, B.C., is an accomplished choreographer, teacher and director. She studied dance at the University of Calgary and Grant McEwan University, and is trained in Limón, Graham and Horton technique, as well as Royal Academy and ISTD ballet. Kathy has trained in choreographic studies, Laban, and human anatomy. Kathy is an articulate, emotional and strong performer, choreographer and dance supporter. She has worked with renowned choreographers, including Joe Laughlin, Lola MacLaughlin, Brian Webb, Sheila Lawrence, Constance Cooke, Debra Shantz, Lindsay Walsh, and has performed with Mile Zero Dance Company (Edmonton) and Tantrum Collective (Vancouver). Kathy was Dance Victoria’s first artist in residence in 2011/12, where she began her work in progress, “Strings Attached.” Kathy’s contemporary technical style has a strong focus on both flow and the stark break from flow to expressed emotion. Her work is innovative, detailed, complex, and emotionally challenging.

Since 2020 our Fountain of Youth Program has been recharged with the support of the CRD Arts Development, the Victoria Foundation; special donor Mauricio A. Garcia Barrera; and program donors Maleea Acker, Samuel Binette, Marion Ehrenberg, Ken Flett, Jodie Gawryluk, Janine Hannis, Valerie Lannon, Bonnie Leadbeater, Dr. Stephen Lindsay, Shea Lowry, Drew Mildon, Robert Milne, Theone Paterson, Michael Shamata, Jeany Shipley, Carolina Stratievsky, Jennifer Wise. In 2023/2024 further support from Maleea Acker, Eric Grace, Janine Hannis, Drew Mildon and Jennifer Wise has allowed us to continue.

Our current 2024 program has been generously supported by


through the Victoria Foundation.

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Hamber Foundation logo
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Help us provide opportunities for dancers and choreographers to improve in their craft.
Suddenly Dance Theatre is a charitable non-profit society based in Victoria, BC Canada.
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