Dancer Transition Resource Centre - 2014 Annual Report
The Dancer Transition Resource Centre (DTRC) is the only organization in Canada that helps dancers make necessary transitions into, within, and from professional performing careers.
Promotes awareness of the breadth and scope of career possibilities both within the discipline and beyond;
Supports professional development at each and every stage of a professional performance career;
Provides the resources required for career transition, including counseling, skill development, and retraining.
Last summer, I sat with transition colleagues at the annual meeting of the International Organization for the Transition of Professional Dancers (IOTPD) and listened to desperate pleas for assistance from Belgium and Spain, two countries without transition support for their dancers. Facing the end of a performance career in those countries meant being in a state of panic with no idea of what lay in the future, nor how to cope with the financial and emotional pressures associated with career transition. It reminded me of how very fortunate Canada’s dancers are to have had access to transition support for nearly 30 years. Physically, emotionally, and financially, dance is an extremely challenging profession and transitions are inevitable. Preparing for these transitions is vital for the health and sustainability of the artist and the art form itself, as researchers for the international study, Making Changes: Facilitating the Transition of Dancers to Post-Performance Careers, discovered:
We know of no other occupation that requires such extensive training, which is held in such esteem as a contribution to culture, and pays so little…In the long run, the vitality of dance activity itself requires attention to the welfare of those engaged in it…The inadequacy of transition support not only creates significant challenges for individual dancers, but also imposes a social cost in form of wasted human capital.
And yet, is dancer transition truly understood? Is support for transitioning dancers taken for granted in Canada in 2014? This past year, we had occasion to ponder these questions through some very deep conversations with our public funders and our private supporters. Due to the confidential nature of our work with dancers, the importance of the role we play in the career cycle of an artist is not always truly understood. “There is a real danger that the essential work of the DTRC could be underestimated, as it is less visible than that of the training institutions and companies,” the President of the IOTPD, Paul Bronkhorst, expressed. “However, the DTRC’s activities provide support to the very same talented, yet vulnerable, group of professionals.”
We also learned how leaders in the dance community value transition support in today’s milieu. We heard from training institutions that the DTRC’s programs made them feel comfortable about encouraging parents to support their children’s dreams to pursue a professional dance career, knowing that they would have support through every stage. We heard from dance companies that the “innovative vision and unique expertise” of the DTRC is essential to the welfare of their dancers during their performance career and as they prepare for transition. We also heard from the dancers themselves that the DTRC helps sustain their performance career as long as possible, and then tackle transition with “optimism, fluidity, and grace”.
As a proactive organization, we know there is much work still to be done. Today’s generation of dancers have a far more fractured career than their predecessors. Performance contracts are shorter and most dancers must balance a number of freelance contracts (within and outside the milieu) to create a sustainable career. In addition to the DTRC’s core programs, we will continue to examine the factors affecting those pursuing a professional performance career in today’s ecology to ensure that Canada’s dancers have the support they need to face new challenges.
Over the following pages you will read a small sampling of the many successes of our dancers in transition. This could not have been achieved without the help of our many partners and supporters. We are deeply grateful to the Department of Canadian Heritage, our federal and provincial arts councils, foundations, supporting dance companies, our many private supporters, and our hard working Board and staff. Most of all, we are grateful to our courageous dancers for their creativity and dedication which inspires us daily.
Amanda Hancox, Executive Director
British Columbia (18%)
Prairie Provinces (10%)
Atlantic Provinces (2%)
For dancers who have dedicated their lives to the pursuit of excellence, transitioning from the performance world can bring on tremendous psychological vulnerability and financial uncertainty. The DTRC’s programs help dancers manage the financial burden associated with retraining for a second career, while giving them tools and emotional support they need to cope with the career change.
Our counselling program provides practical guidance and psychological support to dancers in transition. In 2013/14, the DTRC provided 375 hours of career, personal, academic, financial, and legal counselling services, totalling $31,790. Learn more about our counselling program
Skills Grants help dancers develop skills transferable to any career. In 2013/14, the DTRC awarded 44 grants for a total of $21,509. These included language courses, computer studies, social media, management and entrepreneurial studies.
The capacity of dancers to excel as leaders and mentors once they leave the stage has never wavered, but this potential can only manifest itself when training, support, and guidance are within reach. With support from the DTRC, dancers who may not otherwise afford the costs associated with retraining can transfer their incredible passion, determination, self-discipline, and creativity to rewarding second careers.
In 2013/14, the DTRC awarded $398,920 in retraining grants to dancers pursuing parallel or second careers. In total, 53 grants and awards were given for study in a wide range of fields including Environmental Engineering, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Science, Design, Culinary Arts Training, Dance Therapy, Osteopathy, and Sustainable Enterprise Management. Learn more about DTRC Grants and Awards
Click to read about Kevin's transition...
Click to read about Sophie-Anne's transition...
Kevin Bowles has always had the desire to contribute to the betterment of society. As a dancer with The National Ballet of Canada, he was a pillar of the dance community as he entertained and inspired audiences throughout his career. Now, Kevin looks forward to giving back in another way as he begins the first year of his Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Ryerson University.
After graduating, Kevin hopes to work in either the Emergency or the OR and intends to continue to employ the qualities he cultivated as a dancer in his new profession. “It takes a very specific personality to withstand the pressures and thrive in these environments and they are quite similar to personalities that are attracted to live performance,” says Kevin. “They both require calmness under pressure that allows for creative flexibility during times of stress. At these critical times in both professions, everyone must be able to assess the situation as it unfolds and react quickly, decisively, and intelligently.”
Kevin joined The National Ballet of Canada in 2002 and became a Principal Character Artist in 2008. His characterizations made him an audience favourite in such roles as Uncle Nikolai in The Nutcracker, Thomas in La Fille mal gardée and Beaujolais in An Italian Straw Hat, for which he received the William Marrié Award for Dramatic Excellence. He has performed featured roles in such varied works as Swan Lake, Giselle, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Taming of the Shrew and The Seagull.
As he prepares to dive into his second career, Kevin looks forward to taking on the new challenges it will bring. “I see nursing as an exciting, challenging, and meaningful profession. It allows, and demands, that I give as much of my time, energy, and passion as was allowed, and demanded, by ballet – I would not be interested in, or satisfied with, any profession that did not,” he says. “As much as I loved and cherished my ballet career, I will love and cherish my nursing career, and I have every intention of making it as long and as successful!”
Kevin received a Full-Time Study Grant – I (FTS-I) in 2013/14. The FTS-I was created for dancers retiring from performance. Learn more about DTRC Grants and Awards
Sophie-Anne Scherrer’s fascination with human movement started when she discovered dance for the first time as a child. After a lengthy career performing, choreographing and teaching dance, she is well on her way to turning that fascination into a career in Occupational Therapy.
Sophie-Anne is in the second year of her Master’s in Occupational Therapy at McGill University, and is presently on clinical placement at Mnazi Mmoja Hospital in Zanzibar, Tanzania exploring occupational therapy from the perspective of a developing country. She is working directly with patients with neurological conditions in a pediatric clinic. “What I find interesting is to see how disability awareness is evolving here,” says Sophie-Anne. “There are very motivated local people who work hard on improving the situation, but they are only a handful and support is very limited.”
Upon her return to Montreal, she will be taking part in a research project on low-cost wheelchair designs for an organization operating in South-East Asia and the pacific region, improving quality of life for those with mobility impairments in countries where health services are sparse.
Sophie-Anne enjoyed a diverse and prolific career – having danced on-screen for Radio-Canada, TVA, l’Opéra de Montréal, La Presse Télé, as well as performing in public and corporate productions for Les Productions du Capitole de Québec, Casino de Montréal, Bombardier, Rona, René Simard, Yves Desgagnés, and more. Throughout her career, Sophie-Anne was always ready to take on new challenges and experiences, which required her to learn numerous dance styles, ranging from hip hop to contemporary dance. Her readiness to take on these challenges allowed her to develop skills in adaptability, versatility, and professionalism. She believes that these qualities, together with the discipline, creativity and perseverance that she developed throughout her dance career, will be very useful in her second career.
Sophie-Anne holds a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology and Exercise Science from the University of Montreal and has received numerous awards, including the Alexander-Graham-Bell Research Scholarship and the Lord Strathcona Foundation Award. In addition, her article on adolescent idiopathic scoliosis has recently been accepted for publication in The Spine Journal, one of the top orthopedic scientific journals in the world. After graduating, Sophie-Anne looks forward to continuing her work with developing countries. “Once I get enough experience in my field, I would like to spend part of my time participating in knowledge transfer initiatives with developing countries so they can use information by themselves and increase their local support resources for people with disabilities.”
Sophie-Anne received the Peter F. Bronfman Memorial Award in 2013/14. DTRC's privately funded Special Awards and Bursaries acknowledge academic excellence and financial need and are intended to help dancers pursue a second or subsequent year of full-time study after completing a DTRC FTS-I grant. Learn more about DTRC Grants and Awards
Dancers inspire us every day, and for our members and alumni, 2013/14 was yet another year of remarkable achievements across the country. The following is a sampling of what some of our members and alumni accomplished last year.
In June 2014, principal dancer/choreographer and DTRC alumna Simone Orlando graduated from the British Columbia Institute of Technology’s Business Management program with distinction. The very next month, combining her gifts of artistic vision and business acumen, she was appointed as the new Artistic Director and CEO of Ballet Kelowna. Simone sees Ballet Kelowna as a company where she can promote and foster Canadian talent, which is wonderful news for the dance community and the DTRC!
DTRC alumnus Jorge Sandoval is currently a PhD candidate at Aalto University’s School of Arts, Design and Architecture in Helsinki, Finland where he was awarded the prestigious CIMO Fellowship in 2014. In addition to his studies in Helsinki, Jorge is teaching Theatre and Performance at both Aalto University and the University of Regina where he holds an MFA in Theatre and Performance. He also designs sets and costumes for theatre and dance productions all over the world and has been the resident designer for Banff Centre for the Arts since 2005.
Dancer and choreographer Yvonne Coutts-Martignago completed her degree in Library & Information Technology at Algonquin College in 2010 and has been working as a library technician in a term position at an elementary school for the Ottawa Carleton District School Board since 2013. In addition to her role with the school board, she remains rooted in the dance world as Artistic Director and Manager of the Ottawa Dance Directive, where she feels her studies in the library technician program have been a tremendous asset.
After completing her studies in Carpentry at l’École des métiers de la construction de Montréal in 2014, contemporary dancer Lucie Mongrain began working with a company where she has contributed to several projects including an architect-designed custom kitchen as well as high-end steel and wood windows. She is currently making a mould for an art piece designed by Louise Viger to be displayed at the new CHUM Hospital in Montréal. Her next goal is to accumulate enough hours as an apprentice to become a Journeyman Carpenter.
Contemporary dancer Melanie McIvor is currently in her final year of her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy at Dalhousie University in Halifax, where she was recently nominated valedictorian representing the class of 2015. Additionally, she has been accepted into the Dalhousie Pharmacy Hospital Residency Program, a highly competitive twelve-month intensive program which prepares students for a career in pharmacy with hands-on hospital experience, commencing in June 2015.
DTRC’s on the MOVE/danse TRANSIT career planning and networking events give young dancers the tools necessary to take charge of their careers. The event welcomes new artists into the workforce; builds professional skills, knowledge, and attitudes; facilitates networking with peers, mentors, and service organizations; and introduces an holistic approach to professional development and ongoing personal and artistic growth.
In 2013/14, over 500 senior dance students and emerging artists took part in on the MOVE/danse TRANSIT programming across the country. Events and workshops were held in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, London, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax, and St. John’s.
In 2013/14, the DTRC partnered with 45 organizations across the country and connected emerging artists with 138 established artists and presenters in discussions that included the Business of Dance; Touring & Marketing; Mapping Your First Year; Self-Image, Self-Esteem & Identity; and Grant Writing.
In planning on the MOVE/danse TRANSIT, the DTRC works in partnership with professional training schools, dance companies, and arts service organizations to present material that is timely and relevant to each region, as well as engaging and inspiring for all participants.
The DTRC will continue to provide on the MOVE/danse TRANSIT conference programming across the country and will continue to develop the First Steps program to reach young dancers in smaller communities.
Generous project support from the Department of Canadian Heritage, Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council, BMO Financial Group, Desjardins - Caisse de la Culture, and contributions from many other national and regional sponsors, makes on the MOVE/danse TRANSIT possible, and allows the DTRC to offer these vital learning opportunities to dancers free of charge. Learn more about OTM
What is on the MOVE?
Federal Government (61%)
Private Sector (20%)
Provincial Government (6%)
Corporate & Foundations (2%)
Interest & Other (2%)
The DTRC is proud that government,corporate and individual funders continue to recognize the value of our work and invest in the organization. Such committed support allows the DTRC to invest in dancers as they successfully navigate necessary transitions and channel their ingenuity, dedication and passion into rewarding careers both on stage and off.
The tenacity, generosity, passion and conviction of the dancers we work with is unwavering and we find these same qualities in those who support the organization. The DTRC is fortunate to have a dedicated base of donors who truly understand and value the organization’s mission. We owe our heartfelt thanks to all of our supporters, with a special debt of gratitude to principal benefactors Lynda Hamilton, and Joan & Jerry Lozinski.
In 2013/14, 122 individuals stepped forward to assist dancers in transition. Many of these supporters are our former grant recipients—dancers whom we have helped and now wish to help others—a cycle we love to see perpetuated!
As the DTRC’s dear friend C. Anderson Silber said, “Bequests allow people to put their money where their hearts are, beyond and after the immediate demands and uncertainties of their own lives. A bequest allows one to live on in the lives of others, to show faith in the future and help realize the future one hopes for.” Well known for his love of dance and concern for dancer wellbeing, Andy and his late partner Rea took great interest in the work of the DTRC. We were deeply saddened to lose this vibrant man in 2013, but his care for dancers in transition will live on through his generous bequest to the DTRC in the form of a retraining grant in his name.
In order to achieve current and long-range goals, the DTRC must continue to diversify revenue streams. Ongoing strategies include leveraging relationships with our ‘champions’ to increase our public profile and expand individual/corporate connections; geographically broadening our donor base; fostering relationships with alumni as advocates, volunteers, and donors; and strengthening our planned giving program. Download the DTRC's 2013/14 Audited Financial Statements
As a special thank you to our top-level donors and in celebration of the remarkable achievements of our members and alumni, the DTRC held an intimate reception in Toronto last May. Hosted at the elegant Extension Room, the evening gave the DTRC staff, members, and alumni an opportunity to say “thank you” to our TO supporters.
Frédéric Marier, who danced with the Montréal Danse company for over 10 years before making the transition into a second career in Management Analytics. He spoke of his passion for dance, and of the profound and lasting impact the DTRC’s Anne M. Delicaet Bursary had on his career change in 2013. Those in attendance were also treated to inspiring performances by Hit & Run Productions and Flamenco group The Triana Project.
The DTRC’s founder Joysanne Sidimus spoke of the remarkable passion and perseverance of dancers and the important role our donors play in their success throughout their performance career and beyond.
A huge thank you to the speakers, performers, and supporters who came out to celebrate with the DTRC!
The DTRC gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Arts Training Fund and the Department of Canadian Heritage
The DTRC is grateful for the support of our public supporters, including the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Toronto Arts Council
Every effort has been made to ensure that this list of supporters is accurate and complete for the September 2013 - August 2014 period. Please accept our sincere apology and contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if your name has been missed or an error has been made.
In 2013/14, the Board of Directors’ profound understanding of the DTRC’s mission and role in Canada and abroad kept the organization on a steady course. While the entire Board is engaged in strategic planning, there are six Board sub-committees: Executive, Awards, Finance, Governance/Nomination, Human Resources, and Development/Fundraising. The Board also looks to a diverse group of leaders in the community for guidance on specific issues.
Financial planning and budgeting are conducted at the Board level, in consultation with the staff, using actuals from past years and projections for future years. Budgets are developed for three-year and annual cycles. The Board looks to trends from past years to inform the budgeting process and manages risk by projecting revenues conservatively and liberally projecting the demand for dancer services. The DTRC has a Designated Fund that is internally restricted by the Board and maintained to cover multi-year contracts and payables. The Board is resolute about fiscal responsibility, ensuring that the DTRC meets current fiscal realities, while building capacity for future activities. At the same time, it recognizes that the organization’s dependency on federal government funding renders it vulnerable to changes in legislation and funding priorities. The DTRC is committed to further diversifying its revenue in the private sector and continues to dedicate time and resources to meet the strategic goals of this endeavour.
DTRC Board members are located in major city centres across the country and have supportive relationships with a range of professional, social, and government networks, to whom they champion the DTRC’s mandate.
Colleen McMorrow took up the pioneering challenge as Treasurer of the Board of the newly formed Dancer Transition Centre in 1985. Over the next 28 years, her loyalty and dedication to the organization never wavered. While her responsibilities as a Partner at Ernst and Young kept her increasingly busy, she remained a committed and rigorous leader of the DTRC’s financial governance until stepping down in 2013/14.
Colleen’s expertise saw the DTRC through times of financial challenge and times of exciting growth. As DTRC Founder, Joysanne Sidimus, says, “From the very beginning, Colleen was not only the voice of reason, but a gifted collaborator. I am so grateful for the tremendously important contribution she made to the DTRC over the entire lifetime of its existence to date.” Her generous spirit and financial wisdom will be missed by all in the organization.
Garry Neil is a supreme example of the strong and caring leadership the DTRC has been blessed with since its inception. He took on the role of DTRC Chair in 2000 after already making a significant contribution as a Board member since 1992. As an internationally respected leader, negotiator, and cultural advocate, Garry brought a practical and effective approach to addressing the challenges and opportunities of a growing organization. His many professional and volunteer positions in arts and culture, and his passionate advocacy for the status of the artist and cultural diversity, provided a profound and extensive understanding of the DTRC’s mandate and vision.
Utilizing his unique skill set, Garry played an integral role in the development and work of the International Organization for the Transition of Professional Dancers (IOTPD), of which the DTRC is a founding member. “For an Executive Director, Garry was the superlative Board Chair,” says DTRC ED Amanda Hancox. “He was a mentor, a wise counsellor, and a true partner in the leadership of the organization.” For 14 years, he guided the Board with integrity, foresight, outstanding governance and great humanity. We are so fortunate to have had him at the helm for so long and deeply appreciate all he did for the DTRC.”
The DTRC is fortunate to have two excellent candidates step forward to fill these positions. Linda Mezon, Chair of the Accounting Standards Board, has been appointed DTRC’s Treasurer and Monique Rabideau, Practice Lead, Securities and Capital Markets for Practical Law Canada, in the Carswell division of Thomson Reuters, has been appointed DTRC’s Chair. Both women have a great deal to offer the organization in terms of leadership and vision, and we are grateful for their passionate commitment to the DTRC’s mandate.
The DTRC gratefully acknowledges the outstanding commitment of time, wisdom, professional expertise, and financial support of its Board of Directors.