Paul Anthony Chambers - Arts Administration

While I initially wanted to discuss my next career in a very absolute way, my counsellor encouraged me to go through a brainstorming process of what my post-dance life might be like.

Excerpt from 25 Transitions © 2011 Dancer Transition Resource Centre.  Photo by Craig Sanok.

Birthplace: Kitchener-Waterloo ON
Danced with: Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, Ballet Jorgen Canada, Toronto Dance Theatre, Banff Festival Ballet
Retrained in: Arts Administration
Currently: Major Gifts, Resource Development; Calgary Women's Emergency Shelter

The first time I tried to retire from dance, Joysanne Sidimus wouldn’t hear of it. In a state of confusion and frustration, I called her for advice about moving on but that’s not what I got. Instead, I received a list of tailored reasons why I wasn’t finished dancing yet. At the time I called her, I had been dancing for eleven years and thought maybe that was good enough, but she wasn’t going to accept “good enough”. She told me that one day I would know I was ready, that there would be no decision to make. Joysanne wasn’t prepared to let this dancer stop dancing just yet – she told me to get back to class. 

Thanks to Joysanne’s “intervention” I had another three wonderful years on stage. I started post dance career counselling through the DTRC. The excitement of planning my future was reflected in my dancing, which I started to enjoy with refreshed enthusiasm – in fact, dancing became more satisfying with each successive year! 

While I initially wanted to discuss my next career in a very absolute way, my counsellor encouraged me to go through a brainstorming process of what my post-dance life might be like. I started to harbour doubts that any other career would be as fulfilling as dancing. However, what I value most in life started to emerge – and, community building was at the centre. Before my retirement, I didn’t realize how valuable that time of reflection would be during the transition process. 

Three years later, when I was offered the position of Company Manager at the Alberta Ballet, I didn’t have to think about it – Joysanne was right, there was no decision to make. I jumped from the stage to the office without regret. I had managed to retire from dance, stay in dance and stay professionally fulfilled. I began to study Arts and Cultural Management online at Grant MacEwan, working on assignments at home and on tour; and, these reports, fundraising proposals, budgets and media strategies were actually used by Alberta Ballet. Through volunteer work, my arts community has grown since I left the stage. 

The DTRC was a strong advocate during my stage career and continues to support me now. Without their financial assistance and professional guidance, my transition from stage to office would not have been nearly as successful.

DANCER TRANSITION
RESOURCE CENTRE

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