Our Stories – Gabrielle Austen Browne

Gabby enjoyed a successful career as a commercial dancer, performing in venues such as Wembley Arena and abroad in Paris, Egypt, Dubai and Japan.

With DCD's support, Gabby has founded her own successful event planning company, The Engagement Co.

”My professional performance career began at the age of 11 when I experienced the West End as part of the cast of Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. I knew from that moment I had to be on the stage! I went onto train in Dance Theatre at Millennium and did backing dancing for the likes of Jamelia and Simon Webbe from Blue. I have been lucky to perform in amazing venues such as Wembley Arena, The London Palladium, Indigo2, Earls Court, The Natural History Museum, The Troxy, Richmix and abroad in Paris, Egypt, Dubai and Japan.

Despite not having a degree, I really wanted a formal education certificate which would stand me in good stead professionally, so I applied for and completed a Postgraduate in ‘Dance in the Community’ at Trinity Laban. I then went on to teach in schools and colleges with older people, and adults and young people with disabilities working with renowned establishments such as Ludus Dance, South East Dance, Pineapple Dance, City Lit and The Albany. It just so happened that during this time I was asked to help plan and organise my best friends’ wedding, when realised I thoroughly enjoyed designing, organising and running events. It still took me a while to decide what career I wanted to move into, but I realised I was losing my passion for teaching and could no longer perform to the standard I wanted to due to injury. I needed a new creative challenge, but like most dancers and performers I felt confused and lacked confidence to try a totally different career and possibly a totally new life.

This is when a friend of mine, an ex-dancer from Rambert, suggested contacting DCD to get some support and advice. My first meeting was with Andy Evans where I completed the career profiling test. The types of careers which the testing suggested were lawyer, marketing manager, and planner or coordinator, all of which I felt an affinity with. Despite this amazing advice, I still knew I had issues regarding confidence and letting go of dance completely to deal with.

I was lucky enough to be offered an opportunity for coaching with lsabel Mortimer, where we delved deep, really deep and this ultimately helped me realise my fears and that I needed face them in order to move forward. We identified one of the reasons I was fearful to move on was that I have massive fear of failure and I still held on to some regrets that I hadn't always given my best during my career or perhaps hadn't peaked as a dancer - it felt I would be leaving the industry with ‘unfinished business’. But I needed to grow and move on, so ultimately had to let go of these feelings as they no longer served me any purpose.

I then decided I wanted to look at training in the events industry with a view to becoming an event manager. The one promise I made myself was that if I went on to re-train I would give it absolutely 100% and I would walk away with a Distinction or the highest accolade possible no matter what it took, and that's what I did! On the course I was nominated project director and went on to lead my team to a Distinction. We were later told by one of the examiners that our event pitch was the best they had ever seen since the course had started!

Three months after finishing the course I got my first role as an event manager and have now launched my own event planning business called The Engagement Co. which specialises in organising and delivering marriage proposals and romantic events. I even had my business featured in The Sun Newspaper!

I absolutely love what I do now and know I am in the right career. I wholeheartedly thank DCD, Andy and Isabel for supporting me on the challenging but exciting journey”.

Gabby’s transition tips:

  • Don’t be afraid of the future, grab it by the b***s! There are so many exciting opportunities out there and if there isn’t something perfect for you, why not you create your own.
  • You could find someone to collaborate with so you’re not alone - sometimes dance can be a lonely profession, but we have so many transferable skills as dancers and performers. These can put us streets ahead in comparison to non-dancers. Work skills can be taught and learnt but emotional intelligence, tenacity, dedication, and discipline can’t.
  • Be sure to speak to people, ask people to objectively tell you what skills and talents they think you have, we sometimes can’t see this in ourselves. Go to networking events, seek advice from wherever you can, even volunteer in a couple industries to try and get a feel for an industry before committing.
  • Just have faith and be confident. You will still be the unique, special person you are whatever you end up doing in the future.


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.

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 Gabby to navigate career transition through the boundless appeal


"The one promise I made myself was that if I went on to re-train I would give it absolutely 100% and I would walk away with a Distinction or the highest accolade possible no matter what it took, and that's what I did!”