Leslie Fields - Associate Director

I love my second career and have found the common thread between dancing and fundraising - people. Engaging audiences in a performance or connecting a donor to an amazing project: both activities bring people and ideas together.

Excerpt from 25 Transitions © 2011 Dancer Transition Resource Centre.  Photo by Makayla Rittinger.

Birthplace: Vancouver, BC 
Principal training: Maria Lewis School of Dance, Royal Winnipeg Ballet Professional Program
Danced with: Pacific Ballet Theatre, Royal Winnipeg Ballet
Retrained in: Arts Administration 
Currently: Associate Director, Development & Alumni Engagement, Faculty of Arts, University of British Columbia 

Congratulations to the DRTC on their 25th anniversary.  I cannot believe that it has been over 25 years since Joysanne Sidimus came to talk to the Royal Winnipeg Ballet about the work the DTRC does.  I was an apprentice at the time, and even though I had my whole career ahead of me, it was nice to know then that support would be there when I needed it.  

By 1987, at 28 years old, I was starting to imagine what the next phase of my life might hold.  I was a demi-soloist and had performed all the roles I’d dreamed of. I had travelled to places I never dreamt I would see and met the most incredible people. The fun was taking its toll though, and the realities of life became clear - my body hurt, and I was thinking of starting a family – both of which signalled that I was ready for a different career.  The DTRC was right there, ready to help.

While dancing, I had been involved in policy-making for dancers’ rights and had assisted the RWB staff with donor relations. I now felt that arts administration was going to be my next step. With the support of the DTRC, I developed a year-long arts administration apprenticeship program and worked with companies across Canada, learning how the pieces of professional not-for-profit arts organizations fit together. By the end, I had found a new career in fundraising.  

Twenty-two years later, I am married to the stage manager I fell in love with at RWB and have two beautiful daughters.  I love my second career and have found the common thread between dancing and fundraising - people. Engaging audiences in a performance or connecting a donor to an amazing project: both activities bring people and ideas together.

Whenever things get a little harried, I think about my dancing days and the amazing things we accomplished.  All professional dancers know what hard work is, and they are driven, committed, intelligent, disciplined and often mature beyond their years. These qualities carry immense value in the “real world”.  The DTRC recognizes this, and I thank you for being there not only for me but for those who will be knocking on your door over the next 25 years.

DANCER TRANSITION
RESOURCE CENTRE

Helping dancers make necessary transitions into, within, and from professional performing careers since 1985.