Dancers’ Career Development appoints new Executive Director

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Following a thorough and public recruitment process the Board of Director/Trustees of Dancers’ Career Development (DCD) has unanimously appointed Vanessa Lefrançois as Executive Director.


5th June 2023

Vanessa succeeds current Executive Director Jennifer Curry who is standing down on Friday 7th July 2023 following 13 years of service. DCD is the UK charity that supports professional dancers in their career development and transition to post-performance careers in an unlimited range of professions and sectors. DCD is the charity that’s here for every dancer – across every genre, across the UK, and at every career stage.

Vanessa is a freelance consultant working in the arts and cultural sector, with experience in senior roles including Joint Director and CEO of Oxford Playhouse; Artistic Director and CEO of the Brewhouse Theatre & Arts Centre, Somerset; and Director of Recreational & Prevocational Dance at The Place, London.

Vanessa spent the first 15 years of her career working internationally as a freelance choreographer and director for opera, theatre and dance companies. A Trustee of South East Dance, Vanessa also sits on the OxLEP Culture and Visitor Economy Sub-Group and Tourism Task Force.

Vanessa has an Executive MBA (with Distinction), Bayes Business School (formerly Cass); BA (Hons) in Arts Practice and Cultural Studies (First), Coventry University; and trained at London Contemporary Dance School and Alvin Ailey, New York.

Vanessa Lefrançois, incoming Executive Director of Dancers’ Career Development said:

“I am honoured to be entrusted to lead DCD, as it prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary and endorse its commitment to nurture an increasingly diverse spectrum of dance artists, across the UK.

The trials and tribulations of the past few years has highlighted the importance of this pioneering charity, dedicated to guiding dancers through periods of uncertainty, challenge and transition. As the dance sector continues to reinvent and transform itself, I recognise DCD’s resolve to be agile, remain relevant and responsive to dancers’ evolving needs and ambitions.

In collaboration with DCD personnel, partner companies and industry colleagues, I look forward to building on the success of DCD’s work under Jennifer Curry’s leadership, to support dancers from all genres and backgrounds: lead healthy, fulfilling and rewarding careers, in and beyond dance.”

Jennifer Curry, current Executive Director of Dancers’ Career Development said:

“It has been such a privilege to work alongside the exceptional staff team and freelancers, DCD Trustees, Committee members, as well as funders and partners across the UK to steward DCD over the past 13 years.

DCD is uniquely placed to model an important way of working for dancers and the dance sector – with kindness, responsiveness, humility and humanity at its heart. I have strived to lead the charity through calm and caring words and actions, and with a curiosity and bravery that befits a charity that is such a pioneer in its field.

Dancers are the heart of DCD and I will forever be inspired by the individuals I have worked with. I will continue to support the work of DCD and look forward to observing its next chapter with Vanessa’s leadership.”

Nancy Glynn, Chair, Dancers’ Career Development said:

“Jennifer has led DCD with great foresight and dedication over the past 13 years, making a lasting contribution to our organisation’s growth and impact in delivering high-quality support for professional dancers across the UK. She has built deep connections with beneficiaries, funders, and partners that will be cherished and nurtured for many years to come. We are grateful for all she has achieved and wish her continued success in her future endeavors.

We are delighted to welcome Vanessa as our next Executive Director. With her background as a contemporary dancer and choreographer, combined with her leadership experience in both the dance and theatre sector, Vanessa brings a unique perspective to DCD. Her understanding of the dance world and ability to navigate change will build upon our 50-year legacy. She also embodies the heart and spirit that is at the core of the charity. We look forward to working closely with Vanessa, our team, and partners to continue making a meaningful difference in the lives of dancers.”

The Nominations Committee was led by DCD Trustee Ida Levine and comprised of the following Board members:

Charles Glanville, Joce Giles, Sue Sloan and Jean-Marc Puissant.