'Get all the help that is offered and if it isn't offered, ask for it.'
Father of six. Phsycotherapist and founder of Counselling for Dancers.
Former dancer for the Royal Ballet and soloist for then-named London Festival Ballet (ENB) and countless TV, film and musical theatre appearances and developing his own business management company, Terry retrained to be a psychotherapist and set up Counselling for Dancers. He became a Dance Papa in the 1970s and offers his unique perspective on how little help there was at that time.
What was the most challenging aspect of working in dance and being a parent for you?
Being away from home on tour was the hardest for me, because it was only at weekends would I see the children when touring in the UK. On tours abroad the times away from home were longer.
What support did you feel you had from work when your partner was pregnant?
I didn’t think about support back then and there wasn’t any anyway.
What support do you feel you had on paternity leave?
No support, paternity wasn’t available when I was dancing.
Was there anything that may not have been in place that you felt could have been useful?
Not that I can think of.
Do you think being a dancer/ working in the dance industry made you think differently about your partner's pregnancy/recovery?
No not really. It wasn’t something that I thought about. Those were the days when you had to “just get on with it”.
From your experience, what advice would you give to an expectant parent regarding leave?
Get all the help that is offered and if it isn’t offered, ask for it.
What changed most for you on your return to work?
Did parenting help you in your work?
I enjoyed coming back from performing at night and giving the babes their late feed. A pleasant bonding event.
Did dance help you in your parenting?
Unfortunately, I didn’t think about that back then.
Do you know of any resources that already exist for parents who work in dance?
I’m afraid not.
Anything else you think would be worth raising?
Nothing worth raising from a serious point of view, but I will tell of the time when my eldest daughter, (who was 2 at the time) was sitting next to me watching Play School on the television and couldn’t figure out that I was on the television and sitting next to her at the same time.
More about Terry
Terry started dancing at age 6 and at age 10 was awarded a 5 year scholarship at the RAD. He went to the Royal Ballet School 16 - 18 years I joined the Royal Ballet, moving to London’s Festival Ballet (now ENB) as a soloist, also performing in West End musicals, Film and TV.
Upon retiring from performing, I set up and ran a business management organisation for clients in show business. After selling the business 15 years later, he trained as a psychotherapist.
He attained an MA in psychotherapy validated by Middlesex University in 2012, and in 2017 set up the website counsellingfordancers.com, specifically to address the mental health needs of dancers.