Excerpt from 25 Transitions © 2011 Dancer Transition Resource Centre. Photo by David Richardson.
Birthplace: Victoria, British Columbia
Principal training: Island Dance Studio, Canada’s National Ballet School
Danced with: The National Ballet of Canada
Retrained in: Veterinary Technology
Currently: Veterinary Technician, Mississauga-Oakville Veterinary Emergency Hospital and Referral Group
Life as a professional ballet dancer can be so absorbing and so demanding that contemplating a transition to another career is quite literally unthinkable – it leaves the mind blank.
From the ages four to 26, I lived and breathed ballet – it was the structure of my life. Then, rather suddenly it seemed, I faced the moment many dancers dread: the decision to hang up my pointe shoes. In my case, painful bone cysts in my metatarsals made performing torturous and made retirement from dance inevitable. The Dancer Transition Resource Centre helped me approach my blank canvas with optimism and purpose. I was able to use their career counseling services to explore many possibilities and to discover not only what I would be good at, but also what I loved. The DTRC helped me see that my love of animals and my concern for their wellbeing could well be my next passion.
Here is where my story has a unique twist. Having decided that I wanted to pursue a career as a veterinary technician, I recalled having met a veterinarian at a season closing reception – Dr. Terry Boston and his wife Diane are patrons of the National Ballet of Canada. They care not only about dance, but just as importantly, about dancers themselves. I contacted Dr. Boston and without hesitation, he offered to take me on as an assistant so that I could gain first-hand experience and determine if I was suited to this career path.
With the DTRC’s support, I completed the pre-requisite courses for the Seneca College Veterinary Technician Course, and graduated from the program with Honours in the spring of 2009. I was immediately offered an emergency technician position at the prestigious Mississauga-Oakville Veterinary Emergency Hospital and Referral Group. I passed the exam to become a Register Veterinary Technician that summer.
Now that my transition is complete and I am established in a new field, I look back fondly on my life as a dancer and value the self-discipline and determination it instilled in me. At the same time, I am equally passionate about my new career and I look forward to what it may hold. I am grateful that the DTRC and Dr. Terry Boston have helped give me another opportunity to make a difference.
Helping dancers make necessary transitions into, within, and from professional performing careers since 1985.