Rhonda Cooper

"The award was a vote of confidence and helped me as much psychologically as financially." - Rhonda Cooper, Physiotherapist

When I was fifteen I wrote in my journal that I wanted to be a professional dancer until I turned thirty, then I wanted to become a physiotherapist.  I also wrote in that same entry that if I didn’t have a professional contract by the time I was nineteen I would give up on the dance career. Luckily things worked out and by nineteen, I had a paying dance contract with Decidedly Jazz Danceworks. I danced until I turned thirty-three and then started my transition to physiotherapy.

I knew that the road to becoming a dancer was going to be extremely challenging and highly competitive, but I didn’t expect that the journey to becoming a physiotherapist would take equal strength and determination. However, the transition from dancer to physio was anything but easy. I still loved dancing and had doubts about leaving the dance profession. I did two years of part-time courses to get my pre-requisites for a Masters of Physiotherapy degree before I could even apply for the program or apply for financial assistance. What helped me most during this time was reading about people in even more difficult situations who persevered and succeeded.

The DTRC supported my re-training with an FTS-I grant the first year of my program and a Peter F. Bronfman Award the second year of my program. The award was a vote of confidence and helped me as much psychologically as financially.

Currently I’m working 26 hours a week, raising my two year old son and doing dance class a couple of times a week. Recently I started choreographing a contemporary piece for a friend’s school. I’m enjoying the balance I’ve now established in my life. I have a career that allows the possibility for limitless learning, flexible hours, and job security, I have a wonderful family, and I still get to enjoy dance through my recreational classes.  

Looking back, the transition was tough, but the payback is beyond measure. - Rhonda Cooper BA(Dance), MPT

DANCER TRANSITION
RESOURCE CENTRE

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