Our Stories - Tanya Richam-Odoi

Tanya is a former professional dancer with Phoenix Dance Theatre and freelance dancer, teacher and choreographer, who, with DCD's support, is transitioning into a career as a Cranio-Sacral Therapist.


"From a young age I developed an interest in performance arts, becoming a member of Dundee Rep's Women's Singing Group and writing for, and performing with the Dundee Rep's Community Drama and Dance Groups.

After graduating from the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in 2002, I joined Phoenix Dance Theatre, as an apprentice, and became a full company member in 2003. Following appearances in ‘Planted Seeds’, and ‘04’, I was nominated by the Critics' Circle National Dance Awards, in the category of 'Outstanding Female Performer (Modern), 2004.

Since 2007, I have worked as a freelance dancer, teacher and choreographer, across all different art forms including - DV8 Physical Theatre, Mad Dogs Dance Theatre, Errol White Dance, Still House, TV extra work, The Brit Awards, The Opera Show, The Wiz, Theatre Rites’ Mojo and with devising material for West End shows.

I had always been interested in body work and considered massage or physiotherapy as a career after my knees packed up! In 2014, after years of back problems, I went to see a Cranio-Sacral Therapist, after exhausting all other treatment forms. This was to be a life-changing moment. I immediately connected with the treatment and felt the release of tension and fear from my body, which contributed to my injuries. The sensations of being open, grounded and at peace after the sessions were so overwhelming, I decided to do an introductory day at The College of Cranio-Sacral Therapy in London. That day solidified my feelings that this was to be my next career move.

The Cranio-Sacral Therapy Diploma course was an intense year of training and personal development. I had to study an Anatomy, Physiology & Pathology course, to get my body knowledge up to scratch, all of which were based in London, and I reside in Leeds.

I contacted Ellen Chambers at the DCD and after my application was considered, was awarded a grant for my studies. This grant covered my Diploma, APP and First Aid Training fees, Tutorials, Study Groups, a massage table, course books, travel and accommodation from Leeds.

The grant allowed a smooth transition from my dance career into another form of body work and body awareness. To be able to rekindle my love of learning, my fascination with the body and all its systems, to learn a healing practice that has a profound effect on the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of a person has been incredible.

Dancers are a different breed. We have the determination and focus to go that extra mile, to train and change our bodies, to keep going, a steely strength. The thought of leaving a career that you have loved for so long can be daunting, but take that creative flair, passion and determination into the next stage of your life, be it cake baking, photography or childcare. Our gift as dancers is that we can connect to others and be open to share and express, essential in all walks of life. There is something else that brings you joy and fulfilment, have no fear in making that step. The excellent support and guidance that you will receive from the DCD will enable you to flourish on your new path”.

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 Tanya to navigate career transition through the boundless appeal


"The excellent support and guidance that you will receive from DCD will enable you to flourish on your new path."


"The thought of leaving a career that you have loved for so long can be daunting, but take that creative flair, passion and determination into the next stage of your life, be it cake baking, photography or childcare."