Samantha-Jane Gray - Emerging Artist

"The DTRC is a network of incredible people to teach and guide young dancers, and I feel proud to be a part of this community."

Excerpt from 25 Transitions © 2011 Dancer Transition Resource Centre.  Photo by Michael Slobodian.

Birthplace: Johannesburg, South Africa
Principal training: Arts Umbrella Professional Dance Program
Attended on the MOVE: 2009
Currently: Dancing with the Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada

Having danced at a studio until the age of 20 while simultaneously completing my undergraduate law degree in South Africa, it’s incredible to be here at 25, dancing with the Atlantic Ballet Theatre alongside amazing artists.

I knew I loved dancing, but coming from a family of doctors, engineers, financial analysts and accountants, it never really occurred to me that dance could be a viable career path, until my teacher asked me whether I had considered continuing to dance after high school. After researching my options, I chose a school in Johannesburg to save money and spent the next three years studying law and dancing. I have a feeling that my parents hoped something else would grab me, but at graduation, I was still most excited about dance. So as promised, my 21st birthday present was an airline ticket and a credit card linked to my parents’ account, a farewell party, and a ride to the airport, with a suitcase that would hold all my belongings for the next four years.

I travelled and auditioned with the help of my parents, friends and extended family, and finally found the program for me – the Ballet BC mentorship program. I was accepted, and with the kindness of friends of my parents who were living in Vancouver at the time, I was able to stay in Vancouver and begin my Pilates Teacher Training while I awaited the beginning of the program.  The day I received my visa, I also received a phone call from BBC saying that the program had unfortunately been cancelled due to funding issues. This left me in a vulnerable position, being too late to audition anywhere else.  This was my first experience with the DTRC – they helped me work through my issues and in the end, Artemis Gordon generously made space in her Professional Graduate Dance Program for me.

My two years in this program were intense and transformational and included continuous conversations with the DTRC, where we discussed what life as a freelance dancer would be like, how to balance classes and rehearsals around interim work arrangements, how to approach choreographers, the intricacies of taxes and most importantly, getting acquainted with the Vancouver dance community.  The DTRC is a network of incredible people to teach and guide young dancers, and I feel proud to be a part of this community.


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