Our Stories - Josh Tuifua

Josh is a former professional dancer, who, with DCD's support, has transitioned to build a career as a Dance Educator.

"I discovered ballet by participating in an outreach project run by Inner London Educational Authorities (ILEA) and the Royal Ballet School. Following my successful completion of the project, I was invited to join the Junior Associates of the Royal Ballet School. After my first year, I was offered a place at White Lodge in Richmond Park where I continued my training for a further six years. I completed my education at the Upper School in Barons Court before joining The Royal Ballet. I danced with the company for sixteen years, rising to the rank of Soloist, performing and creating a variety of roles both in London and internationally.

During my career, I had continuously developed interests and hobbies outside of dance, from fashion, textiles and photography to aviation, always with ‘Life after tights’ in mind. When the time finally came to leave the company, I found that all my hobbies and interests had failed to prepare me adequately for the transition; it had just left me with too many choices and an abundance of confusion.

After taking a few years out to look after my elderly parents, I decided to learn a new skill set. I have always been highly sociable, so I decided to investigate the hospitality industry. I started working for a two Michelin starred Chef, learning restaurant structure from gastro pubs to fine dining. I found myself drawn to the PR and Marketing aspects of the business.

During this time, I discovered that many of my skills from my life on stage were transferable.

After four years of working in hospitality, I felt it was time to move into a new arena. I still felt somewhat lost. So I took the life changing decision to seek professional help planning my next step. I contacted the Dancers’ Career Development team. The support that I have received from the entire team has been invaluable. We began with identifying my interests and hobbies, deciding how I’d like to implement them in my life, and prioritising my focus. With the help of DCD, I graduated from the Professional Dancers’ Teaching Diploma course at the Royal Academy of Dance and since then I have been teaching for the RAD at their school in Battersea, holding workshops nationally and teaching internationally as part of their summer school faculty. I also teach for the educational department of Birmingham Royal Ballet, holding classes and workshops for a variety of social groups, age ranges and abilities. With this structure in place, I’m now able to focus on another of my passions, photography, whilst still expanding my freelance teaching. I am truly grateful for the continued support from the team at DCD and have found that the transition is continuously a work in progress”.

My Top Tips for Transition:

  • Consider life after dance as soon as possible; it is much easier to do a course during a holiday or test the waters of a new career option whilst you’re still earning a pay cheque!

  • Take time to fully consider your options. Don’t think that you have to immediately reach the same level as you did as a dancer.

  • Be kind to yourself, as dancers we are very self-critical.

  • Don’t be ashamed to feel worried or low from time to time. Retiring from dancing can feel like a divorce!

  • NEVER underestimate your transferable skills. You are a creative, a team player that has a lifetime of high pressure problem solving skills under your belt and that’s just the tip of your very talented iceberg.

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 Josh to navigate career transition through the boundless appeal

"NEVER underestimate your transferable skills. You are a creative, a team player that has a lifetime of high pressure problem solving skills under your belt and that’s just the tip of your very talented iceberg."