Financial Retraining Grants & Special Bursaries

'The training that I was able to undertake, thanks to the support of Dancers' Career Development (then the Dancers' Resettlement Fund), at that particular time in my career was invaluable and continues to underpin my practice'

Anne Donnelly, Principal Lecturer, Director of Dance Programmes Middlesex University and former Professional Dancer with London Contemporary Dance Theatre (under the name of Anne Went).

Dancers may choose to transfer their skills to another area of dance, or pursue a different career altogether. Whether their goal is to become an artistic director or an architect, we can give the guidance and financial support to gain the skills required for a successful and satisfying career path.

  • Course & training fees
  • Equipment (related to training)
  • Books and materials (related to study)
  • Maintenance
  • Travel costs
  • Child care costs

Follow the links below for more information:


The Application Process

Guidelines and Application Forms

New DCD Brenda Naylor Bursary Announced

We are delighted to announce that from 2017/18, DCD will be offering a new annual Brenda Naylor Award, of £2,000 that will be awarded to professional independent dancers pursuing a second career in a creative field, business management or marketing.

This prestigious bursary has been made possible by an extraordinary £37,441, which was raised for DCD through the sale of the works of the late Brenda Naylor, dance sculptor and artist, at an exhibition at the end of 2016.

Brenda Naylor is known for her beautiful bronzes and drawings, mainly of dancers.

In addition to the annual bursary, this legacy gift will go directly towards DCD’s work in supporting professional dancers in the UK to successfully transition into alternative careers after retiring from performance. We are incredibly grateful for her and her family’s generosity.

“It was Brenda’s wish that her art, created over many years, should go towards helping dancers move on to second careers following their life on stage. It is wonderful to see her life’s work become a part of so many dancers’ futures”. David Lade, Brenda Naylor's Nephew

Apply for the Brenda Naylor Bursary at our next application deadline. Please contact Ellen Chambers or Nancy Liiv to book in a one to one consultation prior to your application.

Visit Brenda Naylor Website

SOLT Bursary for Musical Theatre Dancers

Dancers' Career Development is delighted to present the prestigious Society of London Theatre (SOLT) Bursaries for Musical Theatre Dancers from June 2016.

The bursary, worth £5,000, is available to support one professional dancer who has contributed significantly to London's West End through his or her performance career, to retrain into professions that are directly linked with the creative industries and in particular London's thriving theatre sector.

DCD exists to support all professional dancers in the UK to navigate a positive and successful career transition, and just in the last year has supported 64 dancers who have performed in London's West End in productions such as CATS, Phantom of the Opera and Matilda the Musical.

We encourage all dancers from the Musical Theatre sector who wish to retrain within the creative industries to apply for the SOLT Bursary at our next application deadline. Please contact Ellen Chambers or Nancy Liiv to book in a one to one consultation prior to your application.

Martin Scott, Chief Operating Officer of The Society of London Theatre said, "Whilst transition is a necessary and inevitable part of a dancer's career, the potential for the theatre industry to benefit from the unique skills, knowledge and experience of dancers is vast and there are many opportunities for dancers to stay closely linked with the industry. SOLT is committed to the long-term health and success of the sector, by enabling the expertise and knowledge contained within it not to be lost".

DCD have supported a number of dancers to successfully retrain in roles such as producers, managers, movement directors, stage managers and lighting designers.

We are extremely grateful for the historical support of SOLT, which has provided immediate and life-changing help to so many professional dancers in the theatre sector.

Recipients of Prestigious Special Retraining Bursaries for Independent Dancers Announced

Wednesday 21 April 2016 - Congratulations to Vanessa Abreu, recipient of the Maude Lloyd & Rudolf Nureyev Bursary; Lauren Dowse and Jamie Karitzis, recipients of the Wallace Potts Bursaries; Hayley Reed, who has been awarded the Bettine Goldberg Teaching Bursary; and finally Rosalind Noctor, recipient of the William Chappell Bursary.

Exceptional applications from independent dancers who have applied to DCD for a Financial Retraining Grant can be considered for Special Bursaries relating to various specialist fields, including teaching, design and film-making.

These special bursaries are available thanks to generous grants including from The Rudolf Nureyev Foundation; Acting for Others; The Mackintosh Foundation; a generous legacy from the late Mrs Bettine Goldberg; and a donation by DCD's former chair Tony Dyson for the William Chappell Bursary.

Our heartfelt congratulations to all the recipients!

Tuesday 4th November 2014 - Exceptional opportunity for financial support for contemporary dancers in November 2014

Dancers' Career Development supports dancers from all backgrounds and genres through our range of Transition Support Services.

In November 2014, we are delighted to offer an exceptional opportunity for dancers who have performed in the contemporary genre to gain additional support with their retraining costs.

Working in partnership with The Royal Ballet Benevolent Fund, applicants to the Independent Trust from a contemporary or classical background can apply for additional support for childcare and/or travel costs associated with undertaking their retraining.

In addition, thanks to The Nureyev Foundation, applicants to the Independent Trust can be considered for the Maude Lloyd and Rudolf Nureyev Bursary of £3,000, for an exceptional application from a contemporary dancer, and the Wallace Potts Bursary of £3,000, for a dancer who is retraining into the field of filmmaking.

Find out more here.

Friday 11th April 2014 - Recipients of inaugural Sir Cameron Mackintosh and Royal Ballet Benevolent Fund Bursaries announced

We are delighted to announce the recipient of the inaugural Sir Cameron Mackintosh Bursary - The Brighton Academy.

After highly successful careers on the West End, including roles in Fame, Grease and Starlight Express to name but a few, four dancers with a combined total of 60 years in the business decided to pass on their knowledge and experience by setting up their very own performing arts college, The Brighton Academy. Kate Alexander, Stuart Dawes, Emma Dawes and Tim Newman set up the academy in 2011, and had their premiere showcase at London's Leicester Square Theatre on Thursday 27th March.

"The Brighton Academy is honoured to be awarded the inaugural Sir Cameron Mackintosh Bursary from Dancers' Career Development," says Kate Alexander.

We have always admired Sir Cameron Mackintosh, who has done so much for the industry we all love, and we can only hope to follow in his footsteps by helping as many students as we can realise their dreams by becoming the performers they were always meant to be. Not only will the financial aid allow us to improve our facilities and offer our students an environment that will equal their training, the recognition that comes with being awarded The Sir Cameron Mackintosh Bursary from DCD will be invaluable to us."

In addition, we are proud to announce that Winifred Burnet-Smith and Nicole Vivien Watson are the first recipients of the RBBF Bursaries, a new initiative from Dancers' Career Development and The Royal Ballet Benevolent Fund that increases support for the retraining of Independent Dancers in the UK.

Winifred Burnet-Smith, a professional dancer for twelve years, currently performs with Hofesh Schechter Company. Winifred was the recipient of a DCD Financial Retraining Grant to become a certified Gyrokinesis teacher. Winifred received a RBBF Bursary that will support her with the associated travel costs.

"Just the thought of life after dance has been extremely daunting and scary, but the staff at DCD has made it so much easier with their warm support and helpfulness. Receiving this money has given me a huge boost in confidence towards retraining, but most importantly has allowed me to pursue my next passion in life which without this grant would not have been possible. I'd also like to give thanks to the Hofesh Shechter Company for introducing me to the DCD and supporting me with this new shift by giving me paid leave to retrain. Thanks also to the dancers of the company for being my Gyrokinesis Guinea pigs."

Winifred Burnet-Smith

Nicole Vivien Watson, a professional independent dancer based in the North East of England, received a DCD Financial Retraining Grant that will enable Nicole to study for the Access to Level 6 course in British Sign Language at City Lit. Nicole received a RBBF Bursary to support her with travel costs from Newcastle to London in order to complete the course.

"The financial commitment of enrolling onto an adult learning program can be daunting, I am immensely grateful to DCD and The RBBF for supporting my decision to continue studying British Sign Language. It is very reassuring to know that my fees and travel expenses to London are paid for, I can now fully concentrate on the course and immerse my self within the study program."

Nicole Vivien Watson

Interested in applying for a bursary? Contact Ellen Chambers, Grants and Careers Officer on 020 7831 1449 or

Friday 24th January 2014 - Dancers' Career Development and The Royal Ballet Benevolent Fund announce new initiative for Independent Dancers

Dancers' Career Development and The Royal Ballet Benevolent Fund announce a new initiative that will increase support for the retraining of Independent Dancers in the UK

Additional funds will provide new Royal Ballet Benevolent Fund Bursaries in order to help overcome financial barriers to retraining. This is the latest development in a long standing relationship between the two organisations.

These Royal Ballet Benevolent Fund Bursaries will be available from January 2014.

We look forward to continuing to work together to yet further improve the efficiency and range of services provided to dancers.

For more information please contact Ellen Chambers, Grants and Careers Officer, Dancers' Career Development. Tel: 020 7831 1449. Email:, or visit the Partnerships page.

All Bursaries will be awarded at the discretion of the Royal Ballet Benevolent Fund Trustees.

Dancers' Career Development's mission is to support all professional dancers in the UK to navigate a positive career transition. We achieve this through providing a bold programme of transition support services.

The Royal Ballet Benevolent Fund supports classical and contemporary based dancers at any time during or after their performance careers, specifically to address and alleviate financial hardship.

Special Bursaries

Fiona Millward and Jason Pennycooke announced as recipients of prestigious retraining bursaries for Independent Dancers

Jason's Story

Jason Pennycooke. Image: Nathan Amzi

'It is thanks to the team at Dancers' Career Development, and The Nureyev Foundation that I am able to pursue my advancement in retraining. They have enabled me to gain skills that were not available to me, academically at school. This funding has given me the means to achieve something that, without, I would find financially impossible in the current economic climate. The work that these organisations do is invaluable to people like myself making a transition, and can indeed make a huge difference in a dancers career development'

Jason Pennycooke, Wallace Potts Bursary Recipient.

Jason has been a professional dancer for twenty one years, performing in Rent and Starlight Express amongst others. Jason was awarded the Wallace Potts Bursary to support him to undertake a course in Documentary Filmmaking at the Met Film School.

Fiona's Story

Fiona Millward. Image: Craig Foster.

'I am extremely grateful and proud to be a recipient of the Maude Lloyd and Rudolf Nureyev Bursary and would like to offer enormous thanks to the DCD Grants Committee and The Nureyev Foundation. Receiving this award not only considerably eases the financial strain of retraining to enable me to focus on my studies without distraction, but has elicited an invaluable sense of affirmation through the acknowledgement of my career to date and the willingness to invest in my future. Thank you'

Fiona Millward, Maude Lloyd & Rudolf Nureyev Bursary Recipient.

Fiona Millward, Co-Director of Independent Dance and independent dance practitioner for twenty eight years, has been awarded the Maude Lloyd & Rudolf Nureyev Bursary. The Bursary will enable Fiona to complete the final year of a three year qualification in Rolfing with the British School of Structural Integration (BARSI).

This will see Fiona graduate as one of the first cohort of UK certified Rolfing Practitioners, joining only 22 Certified Rolfing Practitioners within the UK.

Both bursaries are funded by generous grants from The Rudolf Nureyev Foundation in memory of these outstanding dance practitioners.

The late Maude Lloyd was a board director and great supporter of DCD. Maude was also a dancer and muse of choreographers, a dance critic with her husband Nigel Gosling and devoted friend to Rudolf Nureyev. Wallace Potts was a film director, screenwriter, and the research archivist for the Rudolf Nureyev Foundation.

Bettine Goldberg Teaching Bursaries

Garry Clarke and Paolo Mangiola have also been announced as the recipients of Bettine Goldberg Teaching Bursaries. These bursaries are available thanks to a generous legacy from the late Mrs Bettine Goldberg. A legacy can transform the lives of dancers and help DCD to plan for our future. To find out how simple it is to remember DCD in your will please click here

Could you change the life of a dancer?

Special Bursaries offer a simple way for you or your organisation to directly support a dancer with a vital financial grant to support their retraining. For more information contact on how you could help please click here

Click here to read inspiring transition stories from previous Bursary recipients


Students of The Grove Independent School, Milton Keynes taking part in a Professional Ballet Workshop with Michael Berkin. Michael, a former dancer with DCD Contributing Companies Birmingham Royal Ballet and Northern Ballet, founded Professional Dance Experience Ltd (PDE) after he received support from DCD to retrain as a ballet teacher and to study business with the Open University.