Excerpt from 25 Transitions © 2011 Dancer Transition Resource Centre. Photo by Chris Randle.
Birthplace: Tofield, Alberta
Principle Training: Grant MacEwan College Professional Dance Program, Peter Boneham, Le Groupe Dance Lab
Danced with: Le Groupe Dance Lab, Sylvain Emard Danse, Foundation Jean Pierre Perreault, Cas Public, Holy Body Tattoo and more
Retrained In: Social work & Counselling
Currently: Hospice care worker for children, Highlands Out of School Care Society
After twenty years as a professional dancer working across Canada, I was ready to retire from the world of dance. I wanted a complete change, and the chance to explore a variety of my other interests. I already had a few ideas as to what I might like to do as a new career. At first, I thought transitioning from dance would be simple and completed in just a few short months, but that perspective soon changed after I moved from Montreal to Vancouver. My dance transition became my life transition.
I was very fortunate to have received the first Founders Award from the Dancer Transition Resource Centre, which allowed me to take time off to explore different career possibilities. The award also gave me the confidence to be open to new ideas, take risks and challenge myself in new areas. I started to volunteer in the field of palliative care and realized that I really wanted to start to working with children again. I began working at Canuck Place, which is the first hospice for children in North America. I jumped into this new environment with my eyes wide open taking in as much as I could – learning, discovering and re-acquainting myself with many personal qualities that I had also used as a dancer. By completely immersing myself in my new environment I felt very comfortable quite soon, and I knew that this would be my new career. Being able to listen, comfort and understand when someone is in end-of-life care offers me challenges and rewards equal to or even greater than in my career in dance.
Transitioning from one career into another has its ups and downs. At times, things will flatline and you think, “What am I doing! Am I doing the right thing?” My personal advice would be to keep asking yourself these questions, and keep moving forward as you never know where your path will take you. When I reflect on my dance career now, I feel very lucky to have achieved all the goals I set for myself. However, I had to know when to create new goals. With the support of the Dancer Transition Resource Centre, I was able to focus on creating and working towards these dreams.
Helping dancers make necessary transitions into, within, and from professional performing careers since 1985.