Our Stories - Clare Rickard

Clare is a professional in musical theatre, having performed in shows including Oliver, Cats and currently in Funny Girl at The Savoy Theatre in London.

With DCD's support, Clare now also works as a yoga teacher.

"I started dancing at 2, doing professional pantomimes (as a juvenile dancer) at The New Theatre, Cardiff at age 6 with Olive Guppy School of Dande). I always wanted to be on the stage and my love of singing and dancing led me to explore the local options available to me. I became a member of The Sherman Youth Theatre and Orbit Theatre company amongst others. I studied GCSE and A level Drama and did my ISTD and RAD exams in Tap, Ballet, Modern and Jazz. I took singing lessons and became an associate with Diversions, The Dance Company of Wales. I moved to London to continue my training and gained a BA(Hons) in Dance and Theatre performance. Upon graduating I was fortunate enough to gain my first job in Mary Poppins at The Prince Edward Theatre in London's west end.

I continued to work in musicals, including Oliver, White Christmas, 42nd St, Cats and most recently Funny Girl at The Savoy Theatre, London.

I started yoga with my mum at about 17, upon moving to London I continued to seek out classes and found a huge love for Hot Yoga. I always wanted to explore the teaching side of it and found a course led by Michelle Pernetta (who brought hot yoga to the UK). I found a perfect gap after finishing Cats and before starting Funny Girl to undertake the month long 200 hour Yoga Alliance teacher training course.

Having had such a passion for yoga I wanted to share the knowledge I gained from the training to become a yoga teacher. The course was so important to me as it highlighted my complete passion for yoga which is parallel to that of performing.

The career path appealed to me as it couples the discipline of dance with a calming mindfulness of the body. Yoga leaves one feeling connected and rejuvenated and helps put things into perspective. I feel I can now become a great teacher and share my passion with others. It offered the opportunity for more freedom within the competitive nature of performing/theatre and inevitably will help support and sustain my future. I felt that the possibility of having a family over the next few years seemed difficult within the restrictive hours that theatre requires and yoga teaching allows for flexibility (all round!).

Through research I became aware of the impact that Dancers’ Career Development can and has had on dancers of a certain age.

My aim is to ultimately 'give back' to the community and it is the sense of family and further education that excites me.

The major thing I have learnt is that nothing is impossible! The financial aspect seemed daunting at first and almost impossible. Consciously saving and being sensible along with the help that DCD gave me made it all work! Whilst I am exhausted I think it is important to keep challenging yourself and keep learning! Doing the course from 8am-9pm, anatomy, philosophy, two practical classes a day, posture clinics, modification workshops etc was amazing!

After "graduating" from the course I found a new local hot yoga studio, submitting a great reference from a senior Fierce Grace teacher I am now teaching three times a week! I am juggling shows in the evening and 10am classes in the day! It is knackering but exhilarating at the same time!

I think I will always classify myself as a professional in the theatre but as I am now teaching yoga too I hope that this may allow me to be a little more selective in terms of the performing work that I do. I want to be creative and fulfilled and I certainly feel that way at the moment!”

To find out more about how we can help you, please contact Ellen Chambers, Dancer Support and Services Officer on ellen@thedcd.org.uk or 020 7831 1449.

You can support a dancer like Clare to navigate career transition through the boundless appeal

"I have learnt that nothing is impossible! I am so grateful to DCD and happy to be contacted by others who may be considering the same career change!"