Excerpt from 25 Transitions © 2011 Dancer Transition Resource Centre. Photo by Jane Weitzel.
Birthplace: Welland, Ontario
Principal training: Val Wilson School of Dance, Quinte Ballet School
Danced with: Ballet BC, the National Ballet of Canada
Retrained in: Yoga teacher
Currently: Dancewear clothing designer and owner of AinslieWear
In an interview I did with Chatelaine Magazine during my days as a dancer with Ballet BC, I was asked about life after dancing. I remember remarking that “there are a million things to do in life, so surely I’d find something else after the stage!” After an incredibly fulfilling dance career at both BBC and the National Ballet, I’ve been fortunate enough to have two careers – as a yoga teacher and a dancewear clothing designer.
I grew up in a house of colour and texture, as my father was an artist and my mother sewed beautiful garments – luckily, she also taught me how to sew! It was while I was at Ballet BC that I really started to design and make my own dancewear. The studio was right above a very funky fabric store and I would hunt for interesting colours and textures in stretch fabric on my lunch break. “AinslieWear” was what everyone called a bodysuit I had made, and friends began asking me to make something for them. I also started working in BBC’s wardrobe department, making costumes for performances, and I felt blessed to be performing and creating dancewear side-by-side – two artistic endeavors I loved.
After about nine years with Ballet BC, a foot injury sidelined me for a few months. I still believed I wanted dance, but as the months passed I realized that my passion was waning. One day, I was struck very clearly by a message – “this is no longer me”.
Though I had always loved creating dancewear, I didn’t see it as a career path at that time. I did however see yoga as an option. I had been practicing for several years and absolutely loved it. With the gracious assistance of DTRC, and Joysanne Sidimus’ ever-supportive words, I was able to study with a brilliant teacher near Seattle. I went on to teach yoga for several years, all the while still creating dancewear. In the end, my heart led me to make AinslieWear a full-time venture, and it’s now a thriving business that reaches dancers worldwide. The DTRC helped smooth my transition out of performance and I am eternally grateful for this.
I tossed the pointe shoes out many years ago, only to embrace stilettos for tango dancing! I am thrilled to have the career I have now, but dancing will always be in my blood.
Helping dancers make necessary transitions into, within, and from professional performing careers since 1985.