Excerpt from 25 Transitions © 2011 Dancer Transition Resource Centre. Photo: Brenda working on '25 Transitions'
Birthplace: Montgomery, Alabama
Principal Training: Canada's National Ballet School
Danced With: The National Ballet of Canada, Nationaltheater in Mannheim, Germany, Toronto Dance Theatre
Retrained In: Graphic Design
Currently: Graphic designer with Gravity, Inc. and freelance designer
Throughout my dance career, the message was loud and clear: 'cherish this time, because it will all be over before you know it. Think now about what you'd like to do after dance...'. We heard this annually during a visit from a DTRC representative, but it was also being echoed by the generation that retired before me. I took this advice to heart! As a young dancer, I devoted my spare time to immersing myself in other creative interests. However, once my dance career started to take off, I had less energy to dedicate to my quest for the perfect second career, and it was put aside. I enjoyed years of great fortune and incredibly fulfilling experiences as a dancer.
As time passed, I began to feel restless. I craved new challenges. I was increasingly interested in the creative process and new ideas shaping contemporary movement, which led me to dance in Germany and then with Toronto Dance Theatre. Eventually, however, these cravings could no longer be satisfied by dance.
The prospect of doing something completely different was thrilling. I began to understand that it was aesthetics, creative expression, and innovation that had kept me interested in dance, not physicality. A friend suggested I might enjoy graphic design, and suddenly all the pieces seemed to come together. At the time, I didn’t know for certain this would be the right career, but I was absolutely confident that it was a step in the right direction – come September, I wanted to be in school, not the studio.
I’ll never forget how exciting that first semester was. At night I couldn’t wait to get up and start another day! I was reacquainted with a long-lost love for fine art, drawing and art history, and it was empowering to be developing new skills. Over the next four years at George Brown College, I applied myself intensely to this newfound passion and graduated, much to my amazement, as Valedictorian of my class.
My life has completely changed since I started down this road, and without question I would not be a working graphic designer today if I had not received help from the DTRC. Incredibly, I now have not only an exciting new career, but also a future for myself and my family.
Helping dancers make necessary transitions into, within, and from professional performing careers since 1985.