Of Companies and Coursework: Pursuing higher education throughout a professional performing career

Jacqueline Straughan started her professional career with the The National Ballet of Canada. After moving to Salt Lake City’s Ballet West, Jacqueline began the journey of studying for her Bachelor of Science Business Degree in Green & Sustainable Enterprise Management while working as a dancer. She recently graduated from the University of Phoenix and has been promoted to Principal Dancer at Oregon Ballet Theatre for their 2016/17 season. Read on for her tips on pursuing dance and academics simultaneously, and find out how her studies unexpectedly benefited her dance career. 

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The show must go on?

Following a performance career in musical theatre, Garfield Andrews is enjoying a successful second career as a physiotherapist specializing in sports injuries.  His new line of work has made him question many of the attitudes dancers have toward their bodies and how to deal with injuries. Are you a dancer experiencing aches and pains? Garfield’s essay is a plea to take these “inconveniences” seriously as a message from your body. Learn more about when to put on the brakes.

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Finding Balance: Dancing through adulthood amidst other pursuits

Most of our work here at the Dancer Transition Resource Centre is concerned with transitions into, within, and from a professional performance career, but that doesn’t mean transitioning away from dance at the recreational or pre-professional level is easy.  In this essay, Stephanie Thompson, Executive Director of Momentum Dance Toronto, reflects on taking a step away from dance, only to return to it again alongside all of her other interests and career goals.  Momentum is a not-for-profit dance company with a roster of dancers including professionals and non-professionals, creating an inclusive environment in which to train, perform, and explore the art form.  Other collectives and companies across the company follow a similar model, such as PushPULL Dance in Toronto and Ottawa that uses the tagline “dancing professionals, not professional dancers.”  For those who have extensive dance training, it can be hard to find satisfying, non-professional dance opportunities.  This is how Stephanie carved this space for herself. 

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