When the dance is over

Physical wear and tear, compounded by injury, force most dancers to stop performing in their thirties. What happens when you need to transition to a new career at an age when most people are just getting started?

Morgan True, photo by Rosie Chesney Photo: Kickstarter

Many people struggle a little, emotionally and psychologically, when they retire; for dancers, whose identity and sense of self is so much defined by their physicality, retirement can hit even harder. As David McAllister, Artistic Director of the Australian Ballet observes: ‘When you stop dancing your body changes; you become physically a different person. So your whole identity completely changes.’

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Richard Watts is ArtsHub's National Performing Arts Editor; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on Three Triple R FM, and serves as the Chair of La Mama Theatre's volunteer Committee of Management. Richard is a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, and was awarded the status of Melbourne Fringe Living Legend in 2017. In 2020 he was awarded the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards' Facilitator's Prize. Most recently, Richard was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Green Room Awards Association in June 2021. Follow him on Twitter: @richardthewatts