Mistaya Hemingway - Student of Urban Planning

"At some point in my dance career, the question of ‘…but what will I do after?’ began to linger in the back of my mind. To find one passion in life is a gift – to find two seemed a challenge."

Excerpt from 25 Transitions © 2011 Dancer Transition Resource Centre.  Photo by Nicolas Ruel.

Birthplace: Edmonton, Alberta
Principal training: Trained at the National Ballet School, Royal Ballet School summer program, Stuttgart Staatstheatre
Danced with: Stuttgart Staatstheatre (please note that this is different from Stuttgart Ballet), Dutch National Ballet, Alberta Ballet, LaLaLa Human Steps, Hubbard Street Dance.
Retrained in: Currently studying anthropology and urban planning at Concordia University
Currently: Living in Montreal, mother to a two-year old, dancing in independent, commercial and film projects, volunteering with a community action group, studying at Concordia University.

At some point in my dance career, the question of ‘…but what will I do after?’ began to linger in the back of my mind. I had a feeling that it would take many years of thought and trial to find something that could ever hope to equal the place that dance has held in my life. To find one passion in life is a gift – to find two seemed a challenge.

The work done by the DTRC definitely reminded me to enjoy the present while also preparing for the future. In the spirit of research, and also as an important escape from those long evenings and extensive tours when my mind would be occupied by enduring thoughts of rehearsal, I began to take correspondence classes through Athabasca University. Cultural anthropology was my first class and I remember being completely captivated by the stories. A few years later, an event that would focus my interests more clearly and specifically on urban design occurred – two buildings in Edmonton designed by my late father, an architect with a true and rare talent, were in danger of demolition. The news came crashing down to my brother and I at the last possible minute, and suddenly I found myself at the head of a national campaign to preserve them. Between rehearsals I would be sneaking in telephone calls to Edmonton city councilors and the national press, and in the evenings, sending out a flurry of letters to anyone and everyone to sign our petition and help us save these buildings. The more I spoke about the critical importance of design in our ever-more-homogenous cities, the more I began to realize that cities, the beauty of the built environment and the movement of people within structures, had the potential to become my second passion. At this point, I contacted the DTRC for assistance and re-directed my studies towards urban design while continuing to dance.

Today, along with being mother to a two year old, I am enrolled in Urban Planning at Concordia University – and, gratefully, I am still dancing whenever the opportunity arises. 

DANCER TRANSITION
RESOURCE CENTRE

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