Embracing the unknown

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When was the last time you discovered something new about yourself?


4th December 2019

DCD’s EVOLVE workshops are about inspiration and finding out what resources you already have and how you can use them.

We recently had the privilege to hear first hand from DCD supported dancer Adam Ellis, now Head of Education and Customer Experience for Jo Loves, the worldwide renowned fragrance brand, created and owned by Jo Malone CBE, and DCD supported dancer and Patron, Zenaida Yanowsky, former Principal with The Royal Ballet. Both shared their personal experiences of transitioning beyond a performance career at our last EVOLVE workshop, held at the Royal Opera House in London in November.

Here are just a few fascinating insights…

Adam – “I had 13 mostly glorious years of performing in Musical Theatre. Even at the height of my career, I felt there were other things I wanted to do and I had more in me. I talked to DCD and decided to take a foundation course in medicine. I thrived in the learning environment, even though I’d never focused on academics before. It had opened up my mind to all the amazing things that we as performers can do. We have an incredible set of transferable skills. I decided not to pursue medicine, and listened to my heart and I continued performing. I had a panto contract but decided not to do it, I was burnt out. I got a temp job at Jo Loves for the Christmas season. I worked the shop floor and had lots of fun and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. After 2 weeks I met Jo Malone. She offered me an assistant manager job, which I took. I was still auditioning, it has been a long process. Within 6 months I became events manager and then they created the role of Global Head of Education and Customer Experience. I could never have imagined in a million years that I would have ended up working for a perfume brand, something so different to the world of theatre. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. I have a very strong work ethic which comes from being a performer, and I’m still ambitious. But I’m happy with my lot, I’m content. Your life will change, but you take the skills with you. Embrace that.”



Zenaida – “I spent 23 years at the Royal Ballet, and the time went so fast. I experienced so many wonderful and also tough creative moments. I decided to leave the company but continue with dance projects until I was ready to stop. I felt very confused about my decision and my identity. When I retired from performing, I was ready to stop. I spent a year asking myself why I wanted to retire, and what I would miss the most. I was lucky to have my husband’s support to take time out. I mattered in the dance world – but would I matter in the world outside? It took a while for the anxieties to dissipate and feel content with my choices. I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up, but I feel calm and excited for the future and all its possibilities.”

When did you last step out of your comfort zone, and what did you learn about yourself?

Sign up to our next EVOLVE workshop in Edinburgh on 22 March 2020 and find out…




Photos taken by DCD supported dancer and photographer Amber Hunt