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