Renewal Season Stories


Renewal Season

When we think of our annual membership renewal, we think of the opportunities ahead for our members - the growth, evolution and new beginnings they will pursue in their life's movement. We celebrate our member's journey and value the connections we renew each year, whether it be to begin afresh or continue to build on a path.

Here are four member stories we are proud to be a part of and inspire us. 

Today is a great day to renew with DTRC if you have not already.

Catherine Rutherford

Catherine Rutherford knew that a dancer’s career “has an inevitable expiration date”, so when she had three months off from Alberta Ballet one summer, she started laying the groundwork by taking an online course in Human Resource Management, supported by a Skills Grant from the DTRC. Other courses followed and by the time she was ready to step away from the stage, she was far along and, with the help of a DTRC Retraining Grant, she completed her studies. Catherine landed an internship at Critical Mass, which led to the permanent position of Learning and Development Coordinator. 

"I feel so fortunate to be working for an amazing company that allows me to explore my creativity in a brand new way. The support of the DTRC allowed me to find and pursue another passion that I didn’t even know I had. I will always be grateful to the DTRC and all of the amazing donors that support their programs."

Angola Murdoch and Natalie Fullerton

With professional experience in aerial silks, fire dance & theatrical clown performance, Angola Murdoch and Natalie Fullerton were drawn to explore clowning for pediatric and geriatric care work in hospitals. Together, they both received a retraining grant to take a Therapeutic Clowning Certificate Program. Through this program they would learn mime and clowning techniques, sign-language and best practices in health care environments. Angola enrolled in 2 French language courses, and Natalie took two Emergency First Aid courses through Skills Grants support. Following the training they would garner placements at Safehaven Respite  for young people who have cognitive and physical disabilities. Additionally, they also received a placement at Sunny Brook Veterans Centre, utilizing their specialized training in therapeutic care and physical creativity to connect with others through singing, laughing and spending meaningful time with over 500 veterans.

“My therapeutic clown course turned out to more fantastical than I could have ever imagined. I knew I would like the work, I didn’t know I would love the work.” – Angola

“I am officially a working fool! Thank you again for all of your time, energy and information, I’m so grateful.” – Natalie

Jean-François Légaré

Jean-François Légaré has worked as a contemporary dancer, choreographer, rehearsal director and dance instructor. His interest for the art of gardening began when he was transforming his woodlot into his version of a ‘veritable oasis of peace.’  Creating this oasis revealed his deep interest in starting a career in landscape architecture. The process that led to him giving up his dance career was not easy. He had to rigorously explore his career options. Jean-François called on the services of a guidance counsellor recommended by the DTRC.

Since then, his commitment to the landscape architecture field has only grown. One of his professors expressed that “Jean-François was able to brilliantly use his dance experience in the landscaping creative method. He reflects the spirit of one of the most renowned landscape architects, Lawrence Halprin, whose project sequences are inspired by a dance creation process.”

One of Jean-François’ long-term objectives is to combine landscaping, culture and social issues. He is now mid-way through his Masters training program.

-I am now convinced that my career choice is a success, and I am enthusiastic about the path leading to my new life.

Michelle Olson

Michelle Olson is a member of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation (Yukon) and the Artistic Director of Raven Spirit Dance and instructor at Langara College’s Studio 58 Acting Program.

Her work as a performer and creator embraces the arenas of dance, choreography, theatre, opera, dance education and community arts. Her current retraining goals are to take a Yin Yoga training program from Semperviva Yoga to compliment her 200hr Yoga Teacher training, received 4 years ago with the support of DTRC’s retraining grant. This program will support Michelle as she seeks new knowledge about the philosophy and practice of yoga, as well as empowering her efforts to physically and mentally explore physiology and anatomy.

This training in yoga has grounded Michelle in her movement knowledge and has been an instrumental part of her community and college movement classes.

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