DCD have been shortlisted for a Mission Include mentoring award!

We are hugely grateful to our wonderful professional Dancers for this nomination and are humbled to be shortlisted alongside the incredible competition.

Here’s what Moving Ahead had to say about our nomination:

‘We are delighted to announce that DCD has made the shortlist for the Most Dynamic Mentoring Organisation of the Year award as part of our Inspired by Mentoring Awards for the Mission Include programme. We have received a phenomenal response for our awards this year, and the nomination truly stood out. The nomination highlighted DCD’s ongoing commitment to mentoring through our programme and within your organisation.

Inspired by Mentoring Awards annually and the nominees have been voted for by the participants. This is a great opportunity to champion those who have given their all to the programme and their mentoring partners who are already seeing transformative changes in their careers.’

DCD’s Beyond Dance Mentoring for Dancers matches dancers with business leaders from under-represented groups, in a relationship to broaden horizons and explore career next steps. DCD invite applications from current or former dancers from all genres, looking for a supportive and confidential space to discuss and explore your careers.

Explore your next steps

If you are interested in our Beyond Dance Mentoring for Dancers programme and would like to find out more and apply, visit our Beyond Dance Mentoring for Dancers page by clicking here.

Support a future leader

We also invite organisations who would like to be involved in mentoring and supporting this programme to please contact dancers@thedcd.org.uk to register your interest.

Executive Director Jennifer Curry is to leave in July 2023 after thirteen years at DCD

Dancers’ Career Development (DCD) today announces that Jennifer Curry, Executive Director has made the decision to step down from her role after thirteen years with the charity.

Jennifer has made an extraordinary contribution to Dancers’ Career Development and to the wider dance sector – both in the UK and internationally in her role as President of the International Organisation for the Transition of Professional Dancers. Jennifer steered DCD’s response to Covid-19, ensuring that DCD was here to support more dancers than ever before at a time when they needed us most. She has built a vibrant organisation and a strong, dedicated team. She leaves with our gratitude and deep appreciation.  

Jennifer Curry says:

It has been a joy and privilege to steward DCD through a significant period in its evolution. I will step away in early July 2023, so I do hope that there will be an opportunity for me to connect with dancers, dance organisations, funders and supporters before then – so I can thank many of you personally for all of your support.’

Nancy Glynn, Chair of DCD’s Board of Trustees says:

‘Jennifer has made an inestimable impact on DCD during her tenure, significantly increasing its reach and impact on its beneficiaries. She has led with ambition and with care; with her belief in what dancers can achieve at the heart of every decision. She has built a committed team and leaves DCD in an extremely strong position for the future as we prepare to celebrate our landmark 50th anniversary year in 2023/24.

Recruitment for a new Executive Director begins from now, led by the Trustees on the DCD Board’s Nominations Committee. The role will offer the chance to join DCD at a transformational moment in our history, as we implement a new business plan 2023-2026. Our aim is to build on DCD’s legacy and core competence in enabling dancers’ transitions to post-performance careers, while continuing to help create a fairer future for all dancers – from every genre, background, at every career stage, and across the UK.’ 

Heather Lehan on her Beyond Dance Mentoring experience

I had the pleasure in taking part in the Moving Ahead / Beyond Dance mentorship programme through DCD, and I am so grateful I had this experience.

Common doubts

Like many, I was unsure whether it was the right time for me to apply for the programme as I held the preconceived notion that I needed to be at turning point in my career. I also had the common doubts of whether I was experienced enough, if my plans for the future were formed enough, or if my season was just going to be too busy to begin a mentorship. Despite these hesitations, I decided there was no harm in applying, because the truth is there is no perfect time, but the sooner the better! 

The application process

The application process was simple – a short questionnaire from DCD about what you hope to gain from the programme. Then, once connected with Moving Ahead, we were asked to fill in a mentee profile outlining our experience in various fields, our personality traits, and any skills we had or were interested in gaining.  Moving Ahead used this to match us to our mentor from one of over 300 participating companies. It felt exciting to be a part of such an extensive network. 

Industry connections

What I found most enriching about this programme was the unique opportunity to make a connection with someone from a different industry. You have the chance to be matched with someone who is living the career you aspire to. They can guide and inspire by walking you step-by-step through their own process whilst sharing how they overcame their hurdles.  

A fresh perspective

My personal experience was excellent as my match was impressively suited. As a senior business and finance lawyer, she had perspective that I could not possibly have gained yet. She had even vocationally studied ballet in her youth and so she understood a lot of my lived experiences. Through discussion, we arrived at avenues I hadn’t considered before. Even though my plans for a post-ballet career weren’t solid, just having an idea of the field I am interested in was enough. We went through the steps together of research, writing letters to schools and applying to workshops. Talking about how to make my transition something I was excited to begin greatly helped the apprehension I had about the end of my ballet career.  

Taking the next steps

As well as speaking about my future, we spent equal time discussing my current career. We explored topics such as confidence, self-worth, difficult conversations, and personal progression. The value she placed on my transferrable skills as a dancer was hugely confidence building and I left each meeting feeling energized and excited by possibility.

Broadening horizons

Above all else, the accountability that the programme provided for me was the most valuable. It forced me to carve out consistent time to think about my future and gave me someone to report back to on my progress and thoughts. This programme is a gift to your future self, and I couldn’t recommend it enough!


Applications open each summer!

Are you a dancer who is currently performing or have you already retired from your career on the stage?

Are you looking for a supportive and confidential environment in which to discuss and think through issues regarding your career, and gain a fresh, new perspective of managing your career progression, work-life balance and growth?

Did you know this programme is open to both Independent and Company dancers?

In partnership with Moving Ahead, DCD’s Beyond Dance Mentoring for Dancers is a global cross‑sector mentoring programme with a proven track record in supporting future leaders to grow and develop alongside creating change and supporting diversity, equity and inclusion.

Click here to find out more.

Heather Lehan is a dancer with Northern Ballet and is also a DCD REACH Ambassador. A huge thank you to Heather for her invaluable insight in to her personal experience on the Beyond Dance Mentoring for Dancers programme and her support as a REACH Ambassador.

Become a DCD REACH Ambassador

If you are interested in becoming a DCD REACH Ambassador or you would like to find out more about our REACH programme click here.

DCD Executive Director Jennifer Curry appointed new President of IOTPD

The Board and Associates of the International Organization for the Transition of Professional Dancers (IOTPD) have voted unanimously to appoint Jennifer Curry, Executive Director of Dancers’ Career Development, as President. 

Jennifer succeeds Paul Bronkhorst, who also serves as the Executive Director of the Omscholing Dansers. Paul has served as President of the IOTPD for over a decade, succeeding Founding President Philippe Braunschweig. During his tenure, the IOTPD has grown from six organizations supporting dancers through career transition to a community of 10 countries, spanning Europe, North America and East Asia. Since 2015 the IOTPD has awarded six Philippe Braunschweig grants each worth 3000 euro directly to professional dancers around the world. The IOTPD has also produced a toolkit for new transition programs and hosted numerous successful global conferences.  

Paul has worked tirelessly as an advocate for career transition for dancers and has pioneered the development and growth of the IOTPD. Paul will remain on the IOTPD Board as Executive Director Omscholing Dansers, based in the Netherlands, a founding IOTPD member country.  

Paul says: “Leading an organization like the IOTPD has always felt a huge privilege. And, although slowly, it is encouraging to see the growing number of countries that understand the concept and benefits of support to dancers facing the inevitable end of their performing careers. International collaboration expands the possibilities to empower dancers worldwide” 

Jennifer Curry is a senior leader in the dance sector with experience working with and for professional dancers spanning over a decade. She has been Executive Director of Dancers’ Career Development in the UK, the first transition programme for dancers worldwide, for over seven years. Jennifer will take up the role on 1st June 2022.  

Jennifer says: I am honoured and humbled to have been voted to serve the IOTPD as President. I look forward to working with colleagues around the world to continue to advocate for and directly support professional dancers throughout career transition. Through many years of dedicated service, Paul Bronkhorst has positively impacted the lives of thousands of dancers worldwide and on behalf of all Board and Associates at IOTPD we thank him wholeheartedly for his commitment and many achievements”  

About the International Organization for the Transition of Professional Dancers 

 The IOTPD was formed in 1993 with a mission to alleviate the challenges that professional dancers face worldwide when transitioning to a post-dance career. It strives to raise awareness of dancer transition and develop viable methods of meeting the needs of dancers across the globe. The IOTPD acts as an international umbrella organization coordinating with existing dancer transition centres worldwide to support research and advocacy initiatives, with the goal that every professional dancer will be equipped to make successful transitions.

Media Contact: 

Paul Bronkhorst IOTPD President
T: +31 6 11 30 22 30
E: PhBGrant@iotpd.org

Mental health awareness week

Everyone has Mental Health, which changes along a spectrum from mental ill health to mental wellbeing. This changes during the course of a year, a month, a day or I know for me even in minutes sometimes. All kinds of factors impact our Mental Health; some we have more control over than others. We understand the circumstances that dancers live and work. There is no doubt that mental wellbeing is vital for dancers to lead fulfilled careers and lives. The enormous impact of the pandemic that continues to be felt by our community makes it essential now more than ever.  

DCD are champions of empowering dancers to make active choices in shaping your lives to able to show up as your best selves. This takes daily practice, something I myself am practicing and some days go better than others. The DCD team have kindly shared with us some of the ways that they take care of their mental wellbeing day to day.  So if nothing else, I hope you can take 2 minutes today to bring some awareness to how you take care of your mental wellbeing.   

  1. Rest & Sleep! We were all very inspired this week by Brene Brown’s announcement to take a sabbatical, prioritising the call for rest, over the call to work. Of course extended time off comes with privilege, but what small gifts of rest can you prioritise for yourself when you need it?  
  2. Cooking and eating a favourite or new healthy meal 
  3. Reading a novel or listening to a Podcast episode
  4. Practicing Mindfulness or Meditation 
  5. Journaling or writing a list of 3 things I’m grateful for if that’s all I have time to do
  6. Talking to someone friend/colleague/family without any solutions. Just being listened to.
  7. Exercising, either getting outside or doing something fun with friends 
  8. Do any of the above outside! Being with nature and fresh air is food for the soul.
  9. Take a moment to check in & notice, am I prioritising my own needs? What do I need? Quieten the noise of expectations. Then make any adjustments to my mind-set, or adjust my plans in order to give myself what I need. Coaching helps me do this too. Click here to find out about DCD free coaching service
  10. Asking for help. Communicate how you are feeling with someone you trust or feel safe with, communicate what you need to someone. 
  11. Give yourself permission, to take your time, not be productive, not to have the answer, to be and accept yourself where you are at. 
  12.  Self-Care – take a bath with bubbles and candles and music, paint your nails, do a face mask. Take care of those feet! Have a massage. 
  13. Spend time with people you love. Hug someone. Cuddles with your pet!
  14.  Take up a hobby/learn something new. Try something that you aren’t good at (this is more fun with other people). Give yourself permission to have fun with all the pressure off! 
  15. Looking at photos/reminiscing of happy memories or listening to music that makes me feel good
  16. Seek Medical and Professional Support

If you are experiencing mental ill health symptoms (find out more here) that are persistent and prolonged (more than 2 weeks) you can seek professional and medical support by contacting your GP. DCD staff are not therapists but there’s some incredible organisations out there with those skill sets and we’ve listed some of them for you below. 

Free therapy for current and retired dancers: 


Mental Health Charities: 








Support for Black, African, Asian, Caribbean Heritage Communities: 




Support for LGBTQ+ Community: 





An interactive check in guide for people who struggle with self-care, executive dysfunction, and/or have trouble reading internal signals:  


Lucy Glover
DCD Support and Programmes Manager: Inclusion and Impact Lead and Mental Health First Aider.


What to expect at a skills for living virtual workshop

We’ve had lots of questions recently on what is involved in an online workshop, so this post aims to demystify and break down any barriers you may have about what to expect.


What is an ACT3 Skills for Living workshop?

DCD’s unique Skills for Living online workshop, in partnership with and developed by ACT3 Psychology, are designed to provide you, as a professional dancer with psychological skills to help you navigate the challenges of your career. The online sessions are fun and creative and will focus on teaching you how to use a full range of ACT techniques, that can be applied to a range of life challenges.


How long is the session?

The workshop is 1.5 hours long.


What do I need to have at hand?

Mainly an internet connection and to be in a space where you can engage. Somewhere quiet and comfortable without distraction. You can also bring along paper and a pen. But don’t worry, we will send the slides to you afterwards to keep.


Who runs the workshop?

These particular workshops are led by former Royal Ballet Principal dancer Jaimie Tapper and Ross McIntosh, Organisational Psychologists and experts in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).


Are these workshop for me?

These sessions are open to ALL current and former professional dancers who have worked in the UK regardless of genre, age and location.


How much does it cost?

These sessions are FREE to all UK Dance professionals.


How do I join the workshop?

All you need to do is register here for the session you would like to attend and we will send you the link to join. All sessions will take place via Zoom. For any access needs please contact dancers@thedcd.org.uk, we will be happy to support you.


What happens in the workshop?

Jaimie and Ross will demonstrate how to use the ACT model to build psychological flexibility, creativity and resilience. The session is a mixture of group discussion / sharing, listening and personal reflection. We aim to bring the concepts we are discussing to life using imagery, personal stories, metaphor and research evidence.


Do I have to talk?

Participation is encouraged but not mandatory. If you have any questions or concerns during the session but don’t want to talk, you can always send a message via Chat or alternatively as a private DM to Ross or Jaimie if you would like to remain anonymous.


Do I have to turn on my camera?

Cameras on is encouraged in order to get the most out of the workshop. It’s always lovely to see faces and we do feel it’s more engaging to be able to connect visually. You do not have to have it on if this is a barrier for you to engage, we understand individuals have different access needs, and we are all experiencing online fatigue. If you have your camera off please use Zoom’s chat function and Reaction buttons to engage.


Is anything expected of me?

Just turning up is a great step. We never pressure anyone to contribute but value the insights participants bring and help bring the topics to life. Workshop participants are invited to take part in ways that work for them, by joining the discussions, commenting and posing questions for us in the chat and just by listening and taking in the information. Whatever you feel comfortable with.


Is the workshop available publicly?

No, the session is totally confidential.


Am I allowed to attend more than one session?

Yes! You can register for as many sessions as you like throughout your career. You can also register for our other workshops like EVOLVE, alongside our ACT3 Skills for Living sessions.


How often are the workshop?

Online sessions have been run monthly. Friday 25th March 2022 is our final session in this series. We are planning on running both online and in-person sessions in the near future. Keep checking back to our calendar page on the DCD website or sign up to our newsletter, as we will be updating the ACT3 Skills for Living events page soon.


What happens after the workshop?

After the session you will be sent the slides from the workshop. We always provide further resources for anyone who would like to delve more deeply into the topics we discuss. We have also recently introduced follow up sessions where you will be invited to join us for a shorter session to recap and delve more deeply into how the skills and techniques you have learned are helping you and any challenges you’ve encountered putting them into practice.


Will you be doing in-person workshops? 

The online workshop have been really successful so we will continue to run these sessions virtually ongoing. Sign up to our newsletter to keep up to date with up-coming ACT3 Skills for Living virtual workshops and in-person workshops when they are announced.


I’m still unsure whether this is for me . . . 

Here’s some feedback from our previous attendees about their experiences. . .

‘The session provided a safe and communal space that allowed you to ask questions or shares doubts without fear of judgement.’ DCD Supported Dancer

‘The “matrix” we learnt was super helpful, having a structure to work with is a great tool to keep referring to.’ Skills for Living participant

‘The tools and insight given in the workshop were very useful and helpful in these times.’ Former DCD Partner Company dancer

You can also contact us at dancers@thedcd.org.uk where we can assist you and answer any questions you may still have.


We would love to hear from you

If you have topics in mind for the next series or any feedback on how to improve these sessions for you, we would really love to hear from you dancers@thedcd.org.uk


Would you like to attend our next ACT3 Skills for Living workshop?

Book now for our last ACT3 Skills for Living workshop of the series ‘Being your best self (a bit more often)’ on Friday 25th March 1:30pm-3:00pm. Find out more here and book your place by clicking this link here.


We also run exclusive ACT3 workshops for our DCD Partner Company dancers. To find out more speak to lucy@thedcd.org.uk.


Recently, I have tried to practice gratitude in tangible ways – usually through daily journaling about what I am grateful for or conversations around the dinner table with family. As the year comes to an end, I wanted to share some reflections on what I am grateful for at DCD in 2021.

•Dancers: I am continually grateful to work with and for dancers. To be part of the team that steward DCD is a privilege. The resilience, creativity and courage of dancers, particularly through this unprecedented time, has been inspirational. I am grateful to the dancers who engage in our work and grateful to those who are curious to learn more. I’m grateful to those who give honest and open feedback, which we welcome wholeheartedly.

•DCD Team: I continue to be inspired and grateful for all those involved with DCD, including our dedicated Board of Trustees and Grants Committee, staff team and freelancers. This small and passionate team have worked tirelessly to support over 3,000 dancers from across the sector since March 2020. I am delighted to have welcomed new members to the Board and Grants Committee, as well as new staff members, who will each bring new perspectives, lived experiences and energy to DCD.

•Funders and Partners: Since 1st April 2020, DCD has awarded over £450,000 to dancers including just under £150,000 to freelance and independent artists. This, along with our other free programmes of support, would not have been possible without the gracious and generous support of our funders and partners. I am grateful for the conversations and collaboration.

•Inspiring stories: This year I have observed a number of EVOLVE Digital and Skills for Living Workshops, which have been attended by over 250 dancers. The environment our exceptional facilitators create where dancers feel safe to share thoughts and feelings is a truly special one. Hearing the stories of our guest speakers from around the world and their messages to dancers has been a joy. I am grateful to all those who deliver, contribute and participate in our programmes for sharing their precious ideas and experiences with the DCD community.

As we move towards DCD’s 50th Anniversary in 2023, there is much more to do and we have big ideas for the future. As DCD navigates this journey, I will continue to be grateful for every conversation and connection that gives us the opportunity to do better for all dancers. Thank you for being here for us and for each other as part of the DCD community.

Jennifer Curry, Executive Director, Dancers’ Career Development.