Raino Dance provides opportunities for people of all ages, shapes and sizes to get involved in the dance form of their choosing, and there are many. Photo courtesy Raino Dance

Victoria’s Raino Dance turns 35 years young

Company has expanded its dance offerings, but its inclusive mission remains the same

By Monique Salez

Monday Magazine contributor

“Dance is for every BODY” has always been at the heart of Raino Dance (originally Lynda Raino Dance).

Welcoming dancers from age 18 upward since 1983, the studio has grown, but the mission remains – dance is for all ages and body types. This has always been a revolutionary idea in an art form that historically has coveted a specific body type, an early start and a short life span for dancers.

Lynda Raino, with her voluptuous form and extremely expressive, theatrical style defied the norm and brought her inclusive, playful teaching style to a market that was unexplored: adult dance.

Over the years she added other styles and teachers and in 2002, I was given the opportunity to build a flamenco program. Originally a modern student of Lynda’s, I found myself continuing my mentorship as a member of the faculty.

With Lynda’s guidance, support and generous heart, 10 years later I purchased the studio. It was like being given the key to a beautiful mature garden. I see myself as the gardener, the caretaker of an amazing community of dance artists and students.

In the early years, it was about repainting the fences and overhauling the online presence. Now it is about looking ahead and meeting the needs of all of this new growth.

From mail carriers to mothers and fathers, from lawyers to doctors to entrepreneurs, Raino Dance invites students to leave their worries at the studio door and bring their bodies to meet the challenges and joys of dance training.

Dance offers a place where we can be in community and connect without the verbal noise. A place to work the mind and body, to let the spirit express with the tilt of a head and the reach of a hand. This is birds in flight, caribou traversing tundra, seaweed rolling in the surf – it is ancient and extremely nourishing for the whole being.

What started as modern dance classes with only Lynda has now become a studio that serves 300 adults, training virtually year-round in six disciplines (contemporary, ballet, jazz, flamenco, hiphop and funk) with a faculty of nine of the top instructors in Victoria.

The fruits of their 10-month program can be seen during a performance June 16 at the Royal Theatre.

Don’t delay, as tickets for this popular show and celebration of movement are dancing out the door! To purchase, visit rmts.bc.ca/tickets-and-events/calendar or call 250-388-5085, Monday through Thursday from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m., or Saturday between 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

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