Linda Stearns began her ballet studies with Bettina Byers, the first official organizer for the Royal Academy of Dancing in Canada. Along with her sister Nora, the two Stearns girls participated in many of Byers's recitals during childhood. Their interest in dance was no doubt encouraged by their mother, Helen (Richardson) Stearns, who was a friend of Byers and was a fellow student in classes taught by Alison Sutcliffe. Linda Stearns furthered her training in London, England, with a roster of teachers that included Phyllis Bedells (who had also worked with Sutcliffe and Byers), and then in New York at the School of American Ballet and in private classes with former Ballets Russes dancer Alexandra Danilova.
One of Stearns's journals indicates an interest in working with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, but it was Les Grands that took Stearns into its company in 1961. Here, Stearns's dedication to the art form came to full fruition as a performer, ballet mistress and artistic director. Within three years of her joining Les Grands, Stearns became a soloist performing lead roles in works by Fernand Nault, Anton Dolin, Eric Hyrst and Brydon Paige. She took on the job of ballet mistress in 1966 and gradually phased out her performing career over the next three years. Mentored by Nault, she continued as ballet mistress until 1984. Between 1978 and 1984, she was also a co-artistic director of the company with Daniel Jackson and Colin McIntyre. In 1985, Stearns became co-artistic director of Les Grands with Jeanne Renaud, a Montreal modern dance choreographer and the founder of Le Groupe de la Place Royale. Renaud sought to bring more contemporary dance into the company's repertoire, which was met with disapproval by audiences and Renaud left in 1987. Stearns was sole artistic director until 1989 when she announced her retirement.
Stearns continued to work as a rehearsal director for several companies including the Alberta Ballet and the Southern Ballet in Florida; she was a répétitrice for works by choreographer John Butler following his death. She coached skaters in various Ontario towns and worked with the renowned British skating duo of Christopher Dean and Jayne Torvill. She also kept busy providing assessments of their clients to the Ontario Arts Council, the Canada Council for the Arts, and Canadian Heritage's National Arts Training Program. Linda Stearns died of cancer in 2003.
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Dance Collection Danse would like to acknowledge that the land on which we work is the traditional territory of the Huron-Wendat, the Anishnaabeg, Haudenosaunee, Métis, and the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation. It has been a site of human activity, including dance, for at least 15,000 years and we are grateful to all the caretakers, both recorded and unrecorded, of this land and of Turtle Island. Today, the meeting place of Toronto is still the home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work and dance in the community, on this territory.