Our Stories - Ingrid Mackinnon

"Be patient when trying to figure out what your next path will be. It's OK to ask for help."

Ingrid Mackinnon has performed with Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Royal Caribbean International, Tavaziva Dance, Disney's The Lion King, Green Candle Dance Company, Uchenna Dance, Royal Opera House and English National Opera, as well as performance work in film and music videos.

Dancers' Career Development support Ingrid in 2013 to complete her STOTT Pilates Instructor training, and again in 2014 to undertake a Masters degree in Movement: Directing and Teaching at Central School of Speech and Drama.

"Not too long after I left the West End production of The Lion King in the spring of 2012, I was starting to feel really confused and uncertain about where my career was going to take me next.

I didn't feel like my dance career was over but I was of the age where I knew that I was ready for more responsibility and control over my career and I didn't want to fall back into old patterns. I wanted to start thinking about future plans and not just short term ones.

A good friend told me about DCD, and recommended that I get in touch. I met with (former Grants and Careers Officer) Jessica Carter and the ball just started to roll. The conversation I had with her was brilliant. She didn't tell me not to worry, I'm talented and I'll find more work, which is what most people kept telling me. She understood that I wanted more than just another dance contract, I was looking for the whole picture. The important thing she asked me in that meeting was to look at what I wanted in my life and then work from that list. I still make a list from time to time to make sure I'm on the right path.

I then met with Andy Evans (for Careers Profiling) who encouraged me to follow my instincts and reminded me that I had a brain (after years of professional dance I'd almost forgotten that I had BA in Kinesiology) and not be afraid of learning new things. After years working to towards mastering the craft of dance, it can be a frightening prospect to start learning something new. The fear of failure is very powerful.

I spent the next few months investigating avenues. DCD put me in touch with people that were already working in these jobs, some I met and some I wrote to. This was also extremely valuable because I could then talk to someone who had gone through the same transition that I was going through, someone who understood.

I started the process of becoming a Pilates instructor through STOTT Pilates last summer with a matwork course and instantly felt in love with the learning and the teaching, and then was awarded a grant from DCD to continue my training in reformer.

Since then, I have been teaching dance, body conditioning, Pilates and movement for actors. This has led to my next challenge, which is studying for my MA in Movement: Directing and Teaching at Central School of Speech and Drama.

I hope to work with performers across a multitude of disciplines in teaching movement and directing movement on productions.

I have learned to be patient when trying to figure out what your next path will be. I have also learned that it's okay to ask for help.

I am very excited about the future, nothing is set in stone but like Jessica said to me, if I keep in mind the things I want (ie, a family, money, control, more responsibility etc) then I'll be heading in the right direction. Being able to discuss your concerns and fears in a safe environment was key for me. Being table to talk to someone and not feel like you were complaining made all the difference. Thank you DCD."

To find out more about how we can help you, please contact Ellen Chambers, Grants and Careers Officer, on ellen@thedcd.org.uk or 020 7831 1449.

You can support a dancer like Ingrid to navigate career transition through the boundless appeal