Conference Contributors

Panel 1: Transition Stories – Personal Perspectives from Athletes and Dancers


CHRISTOPHER BODY is a graduate of Canada’s National Ballet School. After a fifteen-year dance career, during which he was a First Soloist with the National Ballet of Canada and performed principal roles on Broadway, he went back to school, earning an Honors Bachelor of Science with High Distinction from the University of Toronto followed by a Bachelor of Health Sciences at McMaster University. Currently, Chris is now Physician Assistant (PA), General Surgery, Toronto General Hospital.


THOMAS HALL represented Canada in the sport of sprint canoeing for almost 20 years. His paddling career culminated with a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He retired from paddling in 2012. After retiring he pursued writing and photography. His work has been featured in Canada’s largest magazines and newspapers. In August, Tom rejoined the sport world as interim executive director of AthletesCAN, the association of Canada’s national team athletes.

annamay-oldershawANNAMAY OLDERSHAW (Pierse) represented Canada in 2008 at the Beijing Olympics placing 6th in the 200 breaststroke, 7th in the 4×100 medley relay and 10th in the 100 breaststroke. In 2009 she broke 4 World Records in the 200 breaststroke both long course and short course and the 4×100 medley relay. She also got a silver at the World Championships in the 200 breast. In 2010 Annamay was bit by a mosquito in India and contracted Dengue fever which subsequently ended her career. Annamay is currently an elementary teacher with the Halton district school board and a mom to 14 month old Josephine.

angel-wongANGEL WONG was born in Hong Kong and trained at the Australian Ballet School in Melbourne, Australia. She has worked with various ballet companies around the world, including Hong Kong Ballet, English National Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, and Toronto’s Proartedanza. She currently dances seasonally with Toronto’s Opera Atelier.  Her repertoire has included Juliet in Romeo & Juliet, Cinderella in Cinderella, Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, and Lise in La Fille Mal Gardee. Contemporary works include creations by Kit Holder, Kevin O’Day, Roberto Campenella and Robert Glumbeck. Ms. Wong holds a Bachelors of Design from OCAD University and is the creative director of & FOR LOVE, a bohemian inspired contemporary bridal collection.

Panel 2: Canadian Sport Institute  Ontario (CSIO)
GAME PLAN – Helping Athletes Prepare for Life Beyond Sport


2015-279-0025SOPHIE BRASSARD is a Game Plan Advisor who has been supporting the career development and transition needs of athletes at the Institut national du sport du Québec.  She also works as a guidance counselor for Fondation de l’Athlete d’Excellence to help student athletes combine sport with their studies. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières and a Master’s Degree in Guidance Counselling from the Université de Sherbrooke. Sophie is currently completing her PhD on the subject of sport transition.  A former competitive gymnast, Sophie saw firsthand all the personal and professional challenges her fellow teammates faced during their transition away from sport. She saw how little access to career transition resources these fellow athletes which inspired her to make this area her life’s work.

Cara_Button_-_Game_PlanCARA BUTTON is the Life Services Manager at CSI Calgary where she has been providing career, education and transition support to Alberta based athletes since 2007.  With a BA in Recreation and Leisure from Concordia, Cara started her career as an intern working with the Canadian Olympic Committee during the 1988 Calgary Games. This experience ignited her passion for sport and brought her to all corners of the globe including Torino 2006, Vancouver 2010 & Sochi 2014. A former basketball and ringette player, Cara understands the demands of elite sport and genuinely loves helping athletes work through the life challenges of competing in high performance sport and specializes in the kind of  guidance they need to address the side of a life they might put off until their sport careers are over.

Lisa_Hoffart_-_Game_PlanLISA HOFFART is a Game Plan Advisor and Mental Performance Consultant for the Saskatchewan Sport Medicine and Science Council. In this role, Lisa has contributed to Team Saskatchewan’s performances at the Canada Summer and Winter Games. Other career highlights include being part of the team that developed the innovative Mental Fitness for Long-Term Athlete Development an in-depth document that examines mental health and athlete career transitions from every angle. She holds a Master of Arts in Human Kinetics specializing in Sport Psychology from the University of Ottawa and she’s currently working on a second master’s degree in Counselling Psychology with a sport-specific focus. This latest educational opportunity has enabled Lisa to further develop her holistic approach to helping athletes not only in a performance domain, but also in everyday life.

Rolf_Wagschal_-_Game_PlanROLF WAGSCHAL represented Canada at the 1999 World University Games and 2002 World Sailing Championships during his time as a national team athlete. After his athletic career, he earned a Masters in Sport & Exercise Psychology from Argosy University/Phoenix and a PhD in Kinesiology with a Behavioural Science from Temple University.  Rolf’s transition away from sport was relatively smooth but he’s seen the challenges many athletes face during career transitions and the effects on their overall well-being – both positive and negative. His experience working as an educator, mental performance consultant, volunteer hockey coach and Athlete Career Transition Advisor at the CSI Ontario, have fortified him with the skills necessary to provide athletes with the support needed to plan and manage their non-sport commitments without compromising their sporting performance.


Chantale VancouverCHANTALE LUSSIER, PH.D., is the Founder and Mental Performance Director of Elysian Insight. A highly sought after specialist in her field, and regional representative (Quebec) for the Canadian Sport Psychology Association, Chantale has worked with hundreds elite athletes. Chantale is very familiar with athletic transitions. A graduate of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, she enjoyed a 12-year career as a professional dance artist (stage, film, and television), choreographer, teacher, & artistic director. She earned a B.A. (honours) in psychology during her last five years in dance. After retirement, she pursued an M.A. in human kinetics (sport psychology), and a PhD in education (psycho-pedagogy). As Project Manager for Game Plan, Chantale is passionate about enhancing quality mental health literacy, supporting healthy transitions, and fostering a culture of excellence in sport and life.

Panel 3: Dancer Transition Resource Centre (DTRC)
From Crisis to Confidence: A Look at 30 Years of Supporting Dancers in Transition


AMANDA PICAMANDA HANCOX worked extensively across Canada as a dancer and actress in theatre, film, and television over her 30 year performance career . She has been Executive Director of the Dancer Transition Resource Centre (DTRC) since 2006. The DTRC is a national, charitable organization with a mandate to help dancers make necessary transitions into, within, and from professional performing careers. Throughout her tenure at the DTRC, Amanda has contributed her expertise to a number of major international and national conferences. Additionally she acts as a career transition consultant within and outside the arts community. She is an Executive member of International Organization for the Transition of Professional Dancers (IOTPD), and former Chair of the Dance Media Group.spacer

parise-mongrainPARISE MONGRAIN works passionately to defend the interests of dancers as the Director of the Dancer Transition Resource Centre’s Quebec office, after a fourteen year career as a professional dancer. She joined DTRC’s staff upon the opening of the Quebec office in 2002, where her knowledge of the Quebec dance community and understanding of Quebec arts policy continue to be a vital asset. Ms. Mongrain spent eight years as the General Secretary for Union des artistes (UDA) and in 2011 her support for UDA earned her honorary status as a lifetime member of the organization. She is on the Board of Directors of the Cultural Human Resources Council and The Hnatyshyn Foundation. In 2013, she graduated with a DESS in Management of Cultural Organizations at HEC Montréal and is currently pursuing a Masters in Industrial Relations at the University of Montréal.

SIDJ 2014 1 (300)JOYSANNE SIDIMUS, M.S.M, a native of New York City, attended Barnard College where she studied Comparative Religion before joining the New York City Ballet. She performed as a soloist with London’s Festival Ballet and as a Principal Dancer with the Pennsylvania Ballet and The National Ballet of Canada. She has taught extensively and, for 35 years, has been a Balanchine reptetiteur, most notably with the National Ballet of Canada. Ms. Sidimus is the founder of Canada’s DTRC where she has presented workshops on Spirituality as well as transitional issues. She has written 2 books, served on many advisory committees and was the founding Vice-President of the Board of Directors of the Artists’ Health Centre Foundation. In 2003 she received the Meritorious Service Medal and in 2006, the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement.


garry-neilGARRY NEIL is Executive Director of the Council of Canadians, a citizens’ organization which campaigns for social and environmental justice. Previously, Mr. Neil worked for more than 30 years in arts and cultural policy, including as the senior staff officer of ACTRA, the union representing performers and writers in film and television, and the Association of Canadian Publishers. Mr. Neil has worked internationally on cultural diversity and status of the artist issues since 1999.


Panel 4: Does One Size Fit All? – Perspectives on Career Transition Models


nov2016PAUL BRONKHORST was originally trained as a career guidance counselor at the Tilburg ‘Akademie Mens Arbeid’ and worked in the private sector. In 1986 he joined the Netherlands Dance Institute as a social officer for professional dancers.  In 2011, he was appointed Executive Director of the Transition Program for Dancers. He has been co-responsible for a number of International Conferences, including The Dancers of the 21st Century (1998, The Hague), Not Just Any Body (1999, The Hague/Toronto), Not Just Any Body and Soul (2004, The Hague), the aDvANCE Project (2004 Monaco). He is also a board member of the Dance House Foundation Amsterdam. He President and founding member of the International Organization for the Transition of Professional Dancers (IOTPD).

Lauren GordonLAUREN GORDON, LCSW is a career counselor, trainer and psychotherapist in New York. She is Co-author, with Dr. M. Levy, “Career Transitions” in Applying Sport Psychology: Four Perspectives and has consulted for the EAP of Major League Baseball and Women in Sports and Events, among other sports organizations. Ms. Gordon was career counselor at Career Transition For Dancers for 14 years and counseled dancers individually, in groups and workshops in NYC and 3 dozen other cities across the US. Ms. Gordon attended Union College, received a B.A. from Binghamton University, and a M.S.W. from Stony Brook University.

angelas-civilian-bio-pictureANGELA MONDOU currently serves as the President of Canada Company, a National non-partisan charitable organization to support the members of Canada’s Military and their families. In addition to providing scholarships for the children of fallen soldiers, Canada Company, through its MET program, helps veterans find civilian jobs. With 9 years as a Mobile Air Movements Officer – including military operations in former Yugoslavia as part of the reconnaissance team with 1R22er & 4CER [UNPROFOR] and the First Gulf War [Ops Desert Storm], Ms. Mondou spent the next 18 years as a global marketing executive launching innovative marketing programs for BlackBerry and Nortel Networks. She then founded ICE Leadership Inc. a professional services firm that supported small-medium enterprises in the defence and tech sectors by providing strategic sales and marketing leadership and execution programs. As President of ICE Leadership Inc. she was a nationally sought after public speaker and best-selling author of ‘Hit the Ground Leading!’ a leadership book that provides military and business insight for team leadership and personal growth. For the past decade, Ms. Mondou has been involved in voluntary business-defence advisory positions including Director with the Canadian Forces Liaison Council. Most recently Ms. Mondou was appointed Honorary Colonel of the Canadian Forces School of Aerospace, Engineering and Technology at 16 Wing, Borden.

Gene Moyle - HeadshotGENE MOYLE, ARAD, MAPS, MCSEP, GAICD, is a graduate from the Australian Ballet School, QUT Dance and former dancer with Queensland Ballet. She holds a Masters and Doctorate in Sport and Exercise Psychology, and has worked extensively with professional performing artists and elite athletes. She was Head of Student Health & Welfare at The Australian Ballet School, a Senior Advisor at the Queensland Academy of Sport, Senior Performance Psychologist for the Australian Institute of Sport/Olympic Winter Institute of Australia including working with the Australian Winter Olympic Team and has lectured in Performance Psychology at QUT Dance since 2001. Gene is on the Queensland Board of the Psychology Board of Australia (AHPRA), a board member of the Queensland Ballet, a member of the Queensland Academy of Sport Performance Health Advisory Panel, a National Committee Member of the Australian Society for Performing Arts Healthcare, and joined QUT Creative Industries faculty as Head of Discipline – Dance in November 2012.


franciscoFRANCISCO ALVAREZ was born in Colombia and raised in Ottawa. He received Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Business Administration degrees from York University. After a successful nine-year international career as a contemporary dancer, he worked in a number of cultural organizations and government, including the Ontario Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Recreation, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, and Alliance Broadcasting. He spent 14 years at the Royal Ontario Museum where he was Director of Communications, then Director of the ROM’s Institute for Contemporary Culture. After serving as Executive Director of Heritage Toronto, he is now Executive and Artistic Director of the Galleries System at OCAD University. In 2012, he was recognized as one of the Ten Most Influential Hispanics in Canada and was named Person of the Year 2014 by the Inspire Awards.

Panel 5: Building Bridges with Workforce and Education


Jeremiah brownJEREMIAH BROWN is a 2012 Olympic silver medalist rower and the National Manager of Game Plan, Canada’s total athlete wellness program for national team athletes. Jeremiah leads a team of seven Game Plan athlete advisors and four project managers in the development of the program, which is centered on five elements: Career, Network, Skill Development, Health, and Education. In 2016, two of Game Plan’s new projects include building a network of athlete-friendly education institutions and building partnerships with employers to provide both career learning and a variety of job opportunities targeting athletes. He is happy to contribute his team’s learning and vision to LEAP delegates.spacer

_TAN0110CLAIRE CARVER-DIAS retired from a 14 year career in synchronized swimming that yielded medals at the World Championship, Olympic, Commonwealth, and Pan American Games. Her path forward was a winding one that began in academia, meandered into sport administration, and veered toward entrepreneurship. In 2003 she launched Clearday, a communications and management consultancy, to help individuals in the professional service industry achieve their full potential. Since 2007, Claire has also run presentation skills development courses for Olympic, Paralympic and professional athletes. In   the past Claire has worked as a business coach and Practice Lead with Impact-Coaches, a top-tier executive coaching firm. She was a director on the board of the Coaching Association of Canada, and President of AthletesCAN and is currently a director on the board of Commonwealth Games Canada.

new-pic-for-branding-transitiongodDWAYNE L. CORMIER has over 17 years of extensive experience in the private and government sector as a Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist, Career Counselor, Executive Coach and Master Facilitator. He is certified practitioner in both the Birkman First Look and MBTI personality assessments. For the last seven years he has devoted his career to assisting military members make the transition from military to “Civvy Street”, he is currently the Director of Transition Services for Canada Company. In addition, his “maverick” no-nonsense facilitation style has endeared him to audiences across Canada and his sense of humour keeps you entertained. He has been awarded on 3 separate occasions with a Commander’s Coin for his tireless devotion and work with the military.

ALAINALAIN GRENIER holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Concordia University, and an MBA from Queen’s University. He currently serves as a Branch Service Manager for Johnson Controls, providing administrative and management oversight of the company’s field service operations for the Montreal market. Prior to joining Johnson Controls in 2015, Alain was General Manager for Westmount Moving and Warehousing, in charge of providing strategic and operational leadership throughout all levels of the organization. Alain has additionally served Canada in the Armed Forces Reserves since 2003, and remains an active infantry Captain.spacer

Tass 10 year reception Wednesday 13th November 2013 Richard Washbrooke Photography

GUY TAYLOR has been from its inception, the Director of the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS). TASS in partnership with the sports and education sectors has supported thousands of student-athletes to reach their potential in both sport and education. So far TASS athletes have gone on to win over 160 Olympic and Paralympic medals.  He Chairs the European Union (EU) Expert Group in Human Resources Development in Sport, which develops EU sporting policies, guidelines and best practise in Dual Career, Qualifications, Volunteering and Employment.  He also advises and supports a number of Countries on the development of their own Dual Career programmes, including currently working with the Japanese and Brazilian Governments.

Workshop A: Theoretical Perspectives: Career Development for Athletes and Dancers

57374b56-749d-4228-a03f-f01d4edb0448ANDRÉE-ANNE LEROY was high performance athlete for 10 years. She swam as a Division I student-athlete and earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Florida State University. She then parlayed her love of sport and helping others into becoming an athletic career counsellor. In 2007, she became Life Services Manager at the Canadian Sport Institute Pacific and continued her studies, completing a Post Graduate Certificate in Career Counselling for High Performance Athletes from Victoria University in Melbourne. From there her dedication athlete career transition counselling landed her the role as National Manager for Game Plan. She has proudly served on the Canadian Olympic Committee Mission Staff at the 2011 Pan American Games; 2012 Summer Olympics and 2014 Winter Olympics. Currently, she works with students at the University of British Columbia as Advisor, Career & Professional Development.

sally halliday photoSALLY HALLIDAY, MA, RCC, CCC, of Sally Halliday Counselling and Consulting, is a Registered Clinical Counsellor who holds an MA in Counselling Psychology and additional training in Career Development, Leadership, Emotional Intelligence, and Organizational Coaching. Sally divides her time between individual clients seeking career and life direction, to facilitating groups and teams of adults in interpersonal communication and career development. She enjoys working with a range of clients, from transitioning dancers and Postdoctoral Fellows to mid-career professionals, offering them her support, knowledge and experience to make successful career decisions. As a former program leader at UBC Continuing Studies, Life & Career Programs, Sally worked collaboratively in the development and delivery of such successful programs as the UBC Certificate in Organizational Coaching and various customized career development workshops.

Workshop B: Moving Beyond – The 7 Steps Critical for Positive Transition

melinda harrisonMELINDA HARRISON is focused on helping individuals move from one form of success to the next, through positive transition. As a former Olympic athlete (1984, swimmer), she is particularly passionate about helping individuals’ transition from elite athletics to their next achievement. She has recently completed extensive research with individuals who have positively transitioned, exploring and identifying what were the consistent key factors for their success. An engaging speaker, she is a graduate of the University of Michigan, an ICF certified coach, a business executive, a writer, a contributor to her community, a mother, and a lifelong learner.

Workshop C: Tools for Transition

The Story Continues – Exploring The Use of Expressive Writing Therapy in Transition

tarynTARYN BRANDT, M.A. is currently entering into her fourth year as a student in the PsyD in counseling psychology program with a concentration in athletic counseling at Springfield College in Massachusetts. She obtained her M.A. in Sport and Performance Psychology from the University of Denver in 2012. Taryn recently completed two years of practicum experience at the University of Hartford Counseling and Psychological Services and will begin a practicum experience at the Springfield College Counseling Center in the fall. Taryn was an elite competitive figure skater for 22 years and currently coaches part time in Simsbury, Connecticut. She grew up in the Toronto area and is excited to return to one of her favorite cities to present at the inaugural LEAP conference.

LEAPing Forward & Moving On – Promoting Healthy Physical Activity & Nutrition Through Transitions

Erin_Reifsteck_HSERIN REIFSTECK is an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG).  She holds a Ph.D. in Kinesiology with a concentration in Sport and Exercise Psychology and completed a post-doctoral fellowship with the Institute to Promote Athlete Health and Wellness at UNCG. A former U.S. collegiate (Division I) field hockey player, Dr. Reifsteck has recently served as principal investigator for two National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) funded projects focused on the development of Moving On!, a program that supports athletes in making healthy transitions to life after sports.

D Brooks Headsho 2016DEANNE DAVIS BROOKS is an Assistant Professor of Exercise Science at Salem College in North Carolina. She holds degrees in Kinesiology and Exercise Science and is a Certified Exercise Physiologist and Strength and Conditioning Specialist. For twenty years, Brooks has coached track and field at the youth and collegiate levels. She is also a former U.S. collegiate (Division I) All-American and draws upon that experience in her work to promote health-related physical activity in former collegiate and professional athletes. Brooks co-developed the Moving On! program to help athletes make healthy transitions to life after sports.

Workshop D: Making Experience Matter – Recognition of Prior Learning

B.kennedyBONNIE KENNEDY is the Executive Director of the Canadian Association for Prior Learning Assessment (CAPLA). She was the lead for prior learning assessment and recognition (PLAR) at the Canadian Labour Force Development Board in Ottawa in the late 1990’s and later became the Interim National Coordinator for the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials (CICIC). Bonnie’s background includes college faculty roles and special initiatives in women’s programs, labour adjustment and recognition of prior learning (RPL). She is an active volunteer and community member, through past elected office and on boards of directors at the local and national level.

Amanda cropAMANDA PAYNE has been working directly with clients at VCCS Employment Services for 5 years as a Resource and Information Counsellor, and as a Job Developer. Furthermore, she has been recently coordinating the use of a competency portfolio to bridge the work of Employment Service Providers and Literacy and Basic Skills Providers, while delivering outcomes into employment pathways and employer engagement. Her background in Human Resources and Recognition of Prior Learning lends itself well when assisting clients to recognize their knowledge, skills and abilities throughout their job search journey and when speaking with employers about strategic recruitment practices.

Workshop E: What Do I Have to Offer? – Transferable Skills of High Performers

Demystifying The Transition Experience – How to Unlock Transferable Skills in Dancers and Athletes in Training

j.bolt head shotJENNIFER BOLT, PH.D, has more than 25 years’ experience as a performer, dance educator and researcher and holds an Honours BA in Applied Health Science from the University of Waterloo, a Teaching Diploma from National Ballet School, and Master’s degree on dance and perfectionism from York University. Her doctoral research explores the social, cognitive and psychosocial dimensions of first-year dance majors’ transition from high school to university at three of Canada’s largest dance programs. Noted for her passionate and detailed teaching style, demand for Jennifer’s teaching expertise has granted her work with Canada’s National Ballet School, George Brown College/Ballet Jorgen, Randolph Academy for the Arts and York University where she has been teaching since 2001.spacer

“But I’m just a cricketer” – Perceptions of Life Skills Development & Transferable Skills

School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences. Photo: Chris SullivanADAM MILES is a Ph.D. candidate in sport psychology at the School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Otago, New Zealand. His research focuses primarily on the psychosocial effects of participation in sport. In particular, his current research involves developing, implementing, and evaluating the effectiveness of a life skills intervention with elite athletes. He has also investigated issues such as stress, emotion, and coping in elite sport and the mediating effects of self-talk during skilled motor performance.


Session A: Who Am I Now? – Mental Health Issues for Athletes and Dancers in Transition*


Lauren GordonLAUREN GORDON, LCSW is a career counselor, trainer and psychotherapist in New York. She is Co-author, with Dr. M. Levy, “Career Transitions” in Applying Sport Psychology: Four Perspectives and has consulted for the EAP of Major League Baseball and Women in Sports and Events, among other sports organizations. Ms. Gordon was career counselor at Career Transition For Dancers for 14 years and counseled dancers individually, in groups and workshops in NYC and 3 dozen other cities across the US. Ms. Gordon attended Union College, received a B.A. from Binghamton University, and a M.S.W. from Stony Brook University.

Krista GuloienKRISTA GULOIEN is a world-class athlete who achieved the pinnacle of athletic achievement by winning a silver medal for Canada in women’s rowing at the 2012 Olympics in London. Her achievements in rowing at the national level in World Rowing Cup Regattas, World Rowing Championships, and the Olympic Games rank Krista among the top female rowers in Canadian rowing history. After the London Olympics, Krista settled back at her home in Vancouver. Through writing about her transition from elite athlete to the next chapter in her life, she hopes to help others prepare and manage the transition from sport successfully. Writing and speaking to share her journey, as well as motivate others have become her full-time commitment. She is passionate about helping people to feel empowered, confident and worthy.

© Gordon Hawkins

KATE F. HAYS, Ph.D., C.Psych., CC-AASP offers sport, performance, and clinical psychology consulting through her Toronto-based practice, The Performing Edge. She has offered mental skills and counselling/consulting services through, among others, the Canadian Sports Center-Ontario, the Artists’ Health Centre, Canada’s National Ballet, and the School of Toronto Dance Theatre. As an independent scholar, she has authored five professional books and numerous chapters and articles regarding sport and performance psychology. Dr. Hays is Past-President of the Society for Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology of the American Psychological Association. Further information concerning Dr. Hays’ practice is available at

ravitz6PAULA RAVITZ, MD FRCPC is a former dancer and choreographer who trained at the Toronto Dance Theatre and York University where she co-founded Toronto Independent Dance Enterprise with Denise Fujiwara in 1978.  With the help of the Dancer Transition Resource Centre, she retrained as a physician and is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto, where she directs the Psychotherapy, Humanities and Education Scholarship (PHES) Division,  whose mandate is to promote humanism and reflective, relationship-centred care in teaching and clinical practice.  Ravitz also is the Morgan Firestone Psychotherapy Chair at the Mount Sinai Hospital, Department of Psychiatry.  She has received several teaching awards including an Association of Academic Psychiatry, Best Teacher Award for Canada, and a University of Toronto, Faculty of Medicine Colin Woolf Award for Long term Contributions to Continuing Education.


forrester-photoNICOLE FORRESTER is an Olympian and 8-Time Canadian Champion who has represented Canada on 20 national teams and stood at on the podium at the Commonwealth Games, Pan American Games, Francophone Games, and World University Games. Dr. Forrester is a professor and human performance consultant specializing in sport psychology. She is passionate about improving the culture of sport in Canada and is Vice-Chair of the Pan/Para Pan American Games Athlete’s Advisory Council and an athlete ambassador for Canadian Tire Jumpstart. She received her PhD in Sport Psychology from Michigan State University and her Master of Education, Exercise & Sport Psychology, from University of Texas. She obtained a Bachelor of Science, Movement Science and Bachelor of Arts, Sport Management & Communication at the University of Michigan.

Session B: Starting the Conversation – The Role of Key Stakeholders in High Performer Transitions*


christopher-houseCHRISTOPHER HOUSE has been Artistic Director of Toronto Dance Theatre since 1994. In addition to contributing over 60 works to the TDT repertoire, he has created choreographies for many companies and individuals including Lisbon’s Ballet Gulbenkian, The National Ballet of Canada, Les Grands Ballet Canadiens, Peggy Baker and Guillaume Côté. He has directed two collaborations with inde-pop band The Hidden Cameras, made several short films and videos, and in 2015 was a contributing choreographer with Cirque du Soleil for the Opening Ceremony of the Pan Am Games. He recently curated Singular Bodies, a choreographic platform for visual artists and continues his performance practice in the works of Deborah Hay, Ame Henderson and Jordan Tannahill. Christopher House has received three Dora Mavor Moore Awards, the Muriel Sherrin Award for International Achievement in Dance and an Honorary Doctorate from Memorial University of Newfoundland. He is an Associate Dance Artist of Canada’s National Arts Centre.

debbie_low_600px_0DEBBIE LOW is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario (CSIO), and has served in this position since November 2005. As CEO, she is responsible for the daily operation of the Sport Institute and for leading the transition to Ontario’s first facility-based sport institute as a legacy from the TO 2015 Pan/Para Pan American Games. Debbie leads the development and delivery of provincial and national high performance sport programs for the Province of Ontario and has spent the majority of her time and efforts over the past number of years re-establishing Ontario as leader in high performance sport. Debbie was Canada’s Chef de Mission for the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games: Assistant Chef de Mission for the 2004 Athens Paralympic Games, and involved in 9 sets of Canada Games as part of Team Ontario in various roles. Debbie was selected to take part in Rick Hansen’s 25th Anniversary of Difference Makers; was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario in June 2012, and the King Clancy Award in February 2010, in recognition of her contribution to advance the cause of Canadians who live with a disability.

Canada's National Ballet School, 2014, Credit: Johan Persson

MAVIS STAINES, C.M., DHumL became a First Soloist with The National Ballet of Canada upon graduation from Canada’s National Ballet School in 1972 and then danced with The Dutch National Ballet until an injury cut short her performance career. She subsequently returned to Canada and enrolled in NBS’ Teacher Training Program, joining NBS’ Artistic Faculty in 1982. She was appointed Artistic Director of Canada’s National Ballet School in 1989. Over the years Staines also has served in various capacities with a number of dance-related organizations, including: the Prix de Lausanne, DANCE/USA, Philadelphia, 1994; Dance Advisory Committee, The Canada Council for the Arts; The Dance Community of Educators, Toronto; Kala Nidhi Fine Arts of Canada, Toronto and International Organization for the Transition of Professional Dancers. In 1998 Staines won the Toronto Arts Award for the Performing Arts and in 2008 she was presented an Honorary Doctorate in Humanities from Mount Saint Vincent University. In December 2010, Mavis became a Member of the Order of Canada, in recognition of her commitment to the education and well-being of individuals in the field of dance; and in 2013, she received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of her contributions to the dance community.


STDT 2015

PATRICIA FRASER trained at York University (Hons B.A. Dance) and studied in London and New York City. She began her performance career with Dancemakers in 1975 (Co-Artistic Director 1980 – 1985), has taught and performed extensively across Canada, Europe, and the US, and is a founding director of the Teachers’ Collective. A recipient of many grants & awards, Fraser has also been a juror for the Canada, Ontario, and Toronto Arts Councils, the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards, the Chalmers Training Awards, and the Dora Mavor Moore Awards. She has been Artistic Director of The School of Toronto Dance Theatre since 1993. A senior artist’s grant from The Canada Council for the Arts enabled her to undertake extensive international research on professional dance training. In 2009, with the support of a Metcalf Foundation grant, Fraser took a six-month sabbatical to further study dance training in Europe. She was awarded her M.A. in Dance from York University in 2012.

Session C: Older & Reckless – Continuing the Passion Later in Life*


MARIE-JOSÉE CHARTIER moves easily between the worlds of dance, music, opera and multi-media in the roles of choreographer, performer, director, vocalist or teacher. Her works have been presented in festivals in Canada, Europe and Latin America and featured on documentary films. Awards include: Jacqueline Lemieux Prize (2015), K.M. Hunter Award (2001), 9 Dora Mavor Moore Awards nominations winning fifty-one pieces of silver and And by the way Miss. She is a frequent guest teacher in major training dance centres and universities in Canada and in Latin America in modern dance, movement for singers, voice exploration and improvisation. In 2003, Marie-Josée Chartier founded Chartier Danse to support her creative activities. Acclaimed productions include petites danses 2014, Stria, Red Brick, Contes pour enfants pas sages, Screaming Popes and Bas-Reliefs.

denise-fujiwara-high-res-final-aDENISE FUJIWARA began a series of overlapping careers starting in childhood as a gymnast, became a Canadian Champion in Rhythmic Gymnastics and competed internationally for Canada.  Upon completing an Honours B.F.A. in Dance at York University, she became one of the founders of T.I.D.E. (Toronto Independent Dance Enterprise). She is a recipient of the Toronto Arts Foundation Award for International Achievement in Dance.  EUNOIA, amultimedia workbased onChristian Bök’sGriffin Poetry Prize winning book, premiered at World Stage in Toronto and was nominated for three Dora Mavor Moore Awards, named one of NOW’s Top 5 Dance Shows of 2014 and began national touring in 2015.  Her six solo dance concerts have garnered praise and have toured to festivals across Canada, and in the U.S.A., South America, Europe and Asia.  In 2015 she was a soloist in the Luminato Festival’s Apocalypsis under Lemi Ponifasio.  She co-founded the CanAsian Dance Festival in 1997 and continues as the Artistic Director.

darryl-lgDARRYL TRACY is a Toronto-based independent dance artist (choreographer, interpreter, teacher and producer). He is a senior faculty member at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre and as a dancer has created many roles by most of Canada’s leading choreographers. He was part of the company Sylvain Émard Danse in Montreal for over 4 years dancing and touring in Émard’s Temps de chien. He has created over 30 of his own works through commissions and self-produced productions. Most recently, he has choreographed a work for Connection Dance Works (NB) to premiere in 2017-18. He most recently performed for Lesandra Dodson  -Fredericton, NB. and will create a new work with her as a dancer. He is also performing for Marie-Josee Chartier his her upcoming tour of ”petit danses’.  Darryl  also works part-time as a neuro-based rehabilitation physiotherapist with Physio-Logic Neuro Rehab and University Health Network-Lyndhurst Center.


carol-14CAROL ANDERSON has pursued a long and diverse career as a dancer, choreographer, teacher, director and author. An avid dance writer, she has chronicled Canadian dance and dancers since the 1980s in a developing body of work that includes biographies, collections, articles, notes, and essays. Her choreography for stage and screen has been supported by grants and awards. Recently retired from the Dance faculty at York University, where she taught both studio and studies courses, Anderson continues to write, choreograph, and promote dance literacy and mindful motion.

Taking The Next LEAP: Network Discovery Mapping

PscottPENNY SCOTT is a systems thinker, network practitioner and mapper and has a passion for supporting and measuring inter-sectoral partnerships and collaborations. Her professional experience includes time in the private sector as well as over 15 years in the not for profit sector here in Ontario. She recently joined the Cabinet Office’s Community Hubs Secretariat as the Provincial Capacity and Resource System Strategist. Penny holds a BA (Hons) from York University, completed the STIA+ Systems Thinking Certification Program and has received Certification from the Network Leadership Training Academy at the University of Colorado.

Conference Connections Poster Session

paula-fitzgeraldPAULA FITZGERALD is currently a PhD student and sessional tutor in the Department of Organizational Psychology at Birkbeck, University of London, England. Her research entitled ‘Turning Pointe’ explores how professional ballet dancers construct their identities at different stages of their career and beyond.  Paula’s interest is to uncover the influences that shape ballet dancers’ identities, and to study participants that are ‘living and breathing’ their vocation across as wide an age range as possible. Paula had significant exposure to the world of professional ballet in a primary career, but sustained a career-changing knee injury during the early stages of her professional life.

Foto SabrinaSABRINA SADOWSKA is Managing Director, Choreographer and first Ballet Mistress of the Ballet Chemnitz and Artistic Director of the Festival TANZ|Moderne|TANZ. Born in Basel, Switzerland, she graduated as dancer and teacher at the Ballet Academy Maria Gorkin and went to Germany dancing with the Ballet Trier, Bremerhaven and at the ballet of the opera in Halle. In 1997 she joint Ralf Dörnen at the BalletVorpommern as Ballet Mistress and later also as Deputy Ballet Director. 2013 she passed her diploma in Theater and Music Management at the LMU University Munich. Together with Inka Atassi she founded the German Transition Center, Foundation DANCE – Transition Centre Germany.

DSC_0541 (3)TIFFANY TOONG received her Bachelor degree in Kinesiology from the University of Toronto and will be beginning her Masters of Science in the Graduate Department of Rehabilitation Science at U of T this fall. Her research will focus on investigating new post-concussion management strategies for youth athletes.  Tiffany’s passion for concussion research began after a forced retirement from elite women’s ice hockey as a result of multiple concussions. Since her retirement, she has focused on increasing concussion awareness at community outreach events and helping other concussed athletes transition successfully out of sport.

SandhamTRICIA SANDHAM, M.ED, is a Counselling Psychology PhD. student at the University of Alberta. She is a former dancer who once dreamed of becoming a professional ballerina, but was not able to. Turning to a career in psychology her research interests include hope and career transitions of elite amateur ballet dancers.




*Panelists still to be announced