Our Stories - Leon Baugh

"The dance world is amazingly supportive and good people always saw me through."

Leon trained at Laban with the Principles Award for Outstanding Achievement in Performance. He went on to work with Retina Dance Company, Barebones, Jasmin Vardimon, Frantic Assembly and Hofesh Shechter. Leon's career highlight was playing the Manatee in Pina Bausch's Masurca Fogo.

He moved into movement direction for theatre toward the end of his performing life and won an Oliver Award for Choreography in 2011 for his work on Sucker Punch at the Royal Court. He also teaches medical students for Performing Medicine at Bart's Medical School at The Royal London Hospital.

In 2010, DCD supported Leon to undertake a Masters degree at the British School of Osteopathy.

Leon dancing with Hofesh Shechter. Photo: Carl Fox

"The reason for the transition from dance to osteopathy was due to the desire to start a family, provide a more secure and lengthy future for them and to be able to spend more time not on tour. I chose osteopathy as I had seen many during my time as a dancer and wanted to continue to work with bodies in the future and if possible even continue to work with people from the arts.

I applied for a Masters in Osteopathy at the British School of Osteopathy and started the course knowing that the financial commitment would be challenging to say the least. Midway through the course I found out about the various DCD support services and applied for a grant. I received almost a year's worth of fees for the course, which made that year much easier financially.

The course has now been completed and an I can proudly say that I am an Osteopath. I have even managed to fulfil the second part of my goal which was to work with dancers treating old colleagues and their dancer friends from some of the top dance companies coming to London.

Making any transition is difficult and there have been times when I wondered if this was the right course of action. In my particular case having a young family helped this as I had a constant reminder of why I was making the shift, especially when some would have said that I was at the peak of my career.

The transition is tough psychologically and I kept telling myself that I could always go back to dance if I wanted, in some way I still tell myself this now and believe it could be true but allowing myself the possibility of that actually spurred me onto to finish what I had started.

Studying in a completely different way was a challenge also and learning new skills for the first time can be difficult but the dance world is amazingly supportive and good people always saw me through."

Find out more about how we can help you by contacting Ellen Chambers, Grants and Careers Officer, on 020 7831 1449 or ellen@thedcd.org.uk.

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