Posted on: 2016/01/27
Photo: Slyvain Senez (2003)
As someone who came to dance “late,” I began serious training at the time my friends were starting university careers. We spent each Christmas together and it was fascinating to see the shift in conversations over the years. Dance is my passion but my curiosity was piqued by their university experiences, which prompted me to take distance education courses.
While at The National Ballet School’s Intensive Dance Program, I required surgery on my ankle. During the recovery I hobbled into Ryerson University for a night class. The study of history and sociology was interesting, and motivated me to seek dance opportunities in Europe. The most valuable course was a business-writing course; it greatly elevated my confidence to communicate with organizations and people in the “real world”.
At the age of 29, I found myself with enough injuries, cities and shows behind me that I decided to leave my dance career. It was a challenging decision. My dance career gave me the opportunity to perform, be creative, and to spend my days with incredible friends and fellow artists. Although difficult to appreciate at times, a dance career is a treasure.
I threw myself into full-time University which turned out to be the best use of my energy. I was fortunate enough to be a member of the DTRC since my first contract with Ballet British Columbia. Having the support of the DTRC took financial pressure off me and allowed me to enjoy the opportunity of seeking a new career.
Through trial and error, I discovered that choosing a profession as a chiropractor best suited my talents and interests. It was not my initial choice and only came after attempting to love calculus (no mining engineer here), organic chemistry (not quite Walter White abilities), and, finally, discovering that anatomy and physiology fit my interests perfectly. It was gratifying that knowledge of the human body was certain, and impossible to argue. ie. It’s a fact that Barishnikov has a couple zygomatic bones. That’s just true.
Surprisingly, I found that certain aspects of university were easy due to my dance background. For example, public speaking was fairly straightforward, especially as this time I got to wear pants when standing in front of an audience. Being a mature student allowed me to see the long-term outcomes and the self-mastery that dance instills in you. Dance teaches habits on which to build success.
Being able to understand the human body from the chemicals up, yet simultaneously appreciating it as a work of art, allows for an incredibly satisfying clinical process. The experiences of both injury and peak performance as a dancer, allows me to better connect with patients. For example, I can explain with first-hand knowledge and anecdotes that being generous with recovery time is beneficial for the long-term.
My dance career was more than overcoming injury, and very much about growing, learning, and developing as an artist. The same progressive approach can be taken to one’s transition when it comes to adopting another career passion.
The support of the Dancer Transition Resource Centre, through generous awards funded by Stanely E. Greben and Lynda Hamilton, allowed me to enjoy the building of a new career. I feel blessed to be part of such an incredible organization and I encourage all dancers to enrich their transition experience through the DTRC.
Scott Maybank at a glance:
Birthplace: Edmonton, AB
Principal training: Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, The National Ballet School of Canada, Banff Centre for the Arts
Danced with: Ballet British Columbia, Alberta Ballet, The West Australian Ballet and Queensland Ballet
Retrained in: Kinesiology, University of Alberta and Chiropractic, New Zealand College of Chiropractic
Helping dancers make necessary transitions into, within, and from professional performing careers since 1985.