Month: October 2012

A Transition Success Story

By Maryam Day, Dancer-Client

Most people who dance know the first time they were inspired to dance.  It’s the moment that changes their lives forever.  That moment for me was in the spring of 1979 at a New York City performance of the Joffrey Ballet.  I was four years old, and I was moved to want to do everything I saw on stage that day.  I danced in the aisles of the theater as if I were in Swan Lake.   I was in awe of the lines, the shapes, and the movement accompanied by music I had never heard before; all of it changed me at that moment, and I knew at that moment that I wanted to become a dancer.

My formal training began at the Dance Theatre of Harlem and for years I lived,Maryam Day breathed, and dreamed of one day becoming a prima ballerina.  But when I found the Graham technique I found freedom.  The Modern dance vocabulary fit my body, made empirical sense to me, and truly made me recognize the artistry in myself.  I was home.

The euphoria of dance can also bring about the pain of reality – literally.  The first year of my undergraduate study at Temple University was an exciting time for me.  We danced with our minds, bodies, and voices in unison, and weeks of rehearsals led to one memorable night on stage.  Unfortunately, I did not pay enough attention to the part in the curriculum about warming up your body to avoid tearing a hamstring while onstage.  The CRUNCH sound coming from my leg was louder than the live rock music that was scored for our section.  I limped off the stage, laid on the floor between the dance shoes and leg warmers, and cried.  For two months I could not walk; and that’s the moment I realized I can’t dance forever.  I knew I would heal and that I would get my leg moving again, but at some point I would also take my last bow as a professional dancer.  And that’s when the fear set in.

Maryam DayAfter years of performing all around the world, I knew the moment had come for me to do something different.  New budding passions of mine were acting, writing my own work, and producing.  In 2005 I formed my first company, Epiphany 3 Films, and CTFD was right there to support my dreams.  As a transitioning dancer I knew I needed help and support to give me the courage and the tenacity to succeed.  CTFD set me on a course with not only the courage, but also a “How To” life map of what to do with my business.  They helped me formulate a business plan, mission statement, operating budgets, and long-term goals.  The awarded seed money and counseling were priceless – truly gifts that kept on giving.

Since reaching my stride I have had the fortune to return the favor.  In 2011, Social Savv(v)y Media opened for business: my boutique social media agency designed to help artists, non-profits, and filmmakers leverage their businesses and brands in the interactive space.  CTFD was one of my first clients!  Social Savv(v)y Media and CTFD worked together over 9 months to bridge the social media gap between programs, content, and CTFD’s audience.

I am proud to say I am a Career Transition for Dancer Success Story!

Discovering a New Future

By Gail VanDervoort, dancer-client and Caroline H. Newhouse recipient

Gail Vandervoort
Former Bevertainer Gail Vandervoort

Over a year ago, Linda Bunch from the Los Angeles office came to speak to our group of “Bevertainers” in Las Vegas. We are professional dancers who serve cocktails and perform our choreographed routines once an hour on stages throughout the Rio Casino and employed by Creative Production. Linda explained what Career Transition For Dancers was all about, and told us if we ever wanted help in looking past our “dancer” years through counseling, that CTFD would be there to lend an ear. That was such a comfort to hear, as I knew that my days as a dancer were few, due to a hip injury and being in my 40s.

Now I’m 44, and in March I scheduled my hip surgery. While I was in recovery, I gave Linda that call she’d offered way back when. She was fantastic and really helped open my mind to the future and how I could keep dance as a part of my life offstage.

My personality test really leaned towards counseling and therapy. Maybe it’s the carrying over of the proud upbringing of my two daughters, aged 20 and 23, but I like to help people be the best they can be—even if there are challenges, such as the injury I was dealing with. Linda and I discussed options, and I spoke to a couple of my dancer friends, who found teaching Pilates to be a fulfilling way to help dancers, athletes, and individuals with injuries from accidents.

Through my research, Stott Pilates was continually referred to as the “Ivy League” of the technique, and to my surprise, the first Intensive Reformer class was to be offered in my hometown of Las Vegas. Linda was sincerely happy for me in finding such a wonderful opportunity and I thought, “Gosh, I have this amazing coach by my side cheering me on, most people have to travel to complete their courses – it must be fate!” I look at it as though preparation met opportunity, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I returned to work in April, but unfortunately, the pain in my hip continued. I knew this was my “Turning Point,” and that I had to end my job in June.

I loved having this opportunity to delve into a new future. Although it’s scary, and dance and performing are all I know, I see my daughter getting ready to graduate college and begin her Master’s Program, and it gives me inspiration to not only show myself, but to help be a role model for her and to teach her that life continues to be about education. We would do anything we could to help her work hard at learning; however, there is no room in our finances to help with my future. Moms are always the ones keeping themselves on the “back burner” and helping everyone else first.

Thanks, CTFD, for being so wonderful, and for helping a dancer’s spirit turn to a new “Pointe” in her life!