Jennifer Kropac – Teacher and Research Assistant
stories & testimonials
Birthplace: Hicksville, New York
Principal Training: Ohman School of Ballet, Huntington Ballet Theatre, Maggie Black
Danced with: Joffrey II Dancers, The National Ballet of Canada, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre
Retrained in: Child Studies and Education
Currently: Supply Teacher and research assistant
As long as I can remember, all I have ever wanted to do is dance. And dance I did – I was privileged enough perform in many of my favourite ballets with the Joffrey II Dancers, The National Ballet of Canada and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. After I had been performing professionally for 14 years, the realization that my childhood dream was coming to an end came as quite a disappointment. Injuries had kept me sidelined for months, and I began the search for a new career where I could use my drive and creative energy as much as I had as a dancer. This was a daunting task. With help from the DTRC, and inspired by the success of my now-husband’s transition, I leapt into the unknown.
The DTRC was invaluable before and after I became injured. Firstly, they connected me with mentors in my fields of interest to answer my questions and offer guidance. At their advice and while still dancing, I enrolled in distance education courses at the University of Waterloo. I eventually graduated from the full-time program with an honours degree in psychology.
Secondly, and perhaps a little unconventionally, Joysanne Sidimus helped me locate my landed immigrant application after it became lost in the government abyss – happily, I ‘landed’ and am now a Canadian citizen. Finally, I believe that my education simply would not have been feasible without financial aid from the DTRC. The grants and awards I received greatly reduced my financial burden and allowed me to excel at my studies – I made the Dean’s Honours List every term, every year!
While at university, I was given the opportunity to teach young children both at the university lab school and the local ballet school. This became the bridge between my careers in dance and teaching, and is what inspired me to pursue my Master’s degree in Child Study and Education. Thankfully, I haven’t had to leave dance behind completely. I have found that dance and movement are effective educational tools and I incorporate them in my lesson plans whenever possible. I am grateful that teaching has brought an equal sense of accomplishment to what I felt onstage, and am motivated by the knowledge that my impact on my young audiences may be far greater, with the potential to inspire dreams in the next generation.