HDC members will not be voting this December. The HDC Board of Directors has acclaimed Rhonda Roberts Smid (Toronto) and Alex Thompson (Victoria) as Directors-at-Large. Sarah Kenny (Calgary), current member of the board, will serve a second term as Secretary. The position of Treasurer was not yet been filled. See the statements of the new directors below.
Statements of Interest
Rhonda Roberts Smid (Director-at-Large 2020)
I am a relatively new member of Healthy Dancer Canada but have volunteered my time at events with this community whenever possible. I also spent the last couple of years working with the HDC screening tool at Ballet Jorgën, under the direction of Bonnie Robson. At the HDC Toronto conference, I had the pleasure of sitting on a panel discussing my experiences as a dancer and wherever possible I have enjoyed volunteering at events where HDC has a presence. More recently, I have taken on the position of Chair for the BIPOC Advocacy Working Group. This group’s mission and vision serves to encourage dancers from this community to “take up space” at HDC events and beyond.
As a retired dancer myself and the mother of an aspiring dancer, I look to the industry now with a different eye. My hope for Healthy Dancer Canada is that we are able to educate students, inspire teachers and foster healthier approaches in our dance environments, competitive events and the overall education community. Also, in light of the chaos in the world, with pandemic, political transitions and social justice concerns, the Arts continues to respond and react in the best way it can. I feel it is now our responsibility to look for ways to help our artists weather these trying times. Lastly, it is time to look at our industry with a more critical eye—to expose faults or missteps and strive towards something new.
We are in a state of transition and this transition can and will lead us to new places. As a part of the board I can see myself contributing in a range of unique ways; being a voice for marginalized peoples and a voice for moms with aspiring dancers. My involvement with the competitive dance industry may allow me to act as a mediator between the competitive dance world and HDC. The transitions in my own career from professional dancer to a mom has made it possible to view the dance world with a sense of possibility. I hope to bring a fresh perspective to the great work that Healthy Dancer Canada is already doing.
Rhonda Roberts is an accomplished performer, instructor and adjudicator of dance who has appeared in productions across North America and Europe. Preceding her career, she was awarded a full scholarship and later the Triple Threat Award from Toronto’s Randolph Academy. Rhonda has performed in many stage productions. Most notably the Broadway show Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, toured with the U.S. National company of the Tony Award-winning musical Ragtime, played the role of Shenzi in the Tony Award-winning show Disney’s The Lion King at Toronto’s Princess of Wales Theatre and taken roles at the prestigious Stratford Festival. On screen, Ms. Roberts appeared in the Academy Award-winning film Chicago and Hairspray.
Rhonda has been teaching across Ontario for nearly 30 years including the placements at the University of Toronto and McMaster, and adjudicating dance in Canada and the US for nearly 20. In 2012, Rhonda opened her own studio, The Art of Balance (TAB) to combine the worlds of dance, fitness and mind–body practices. In 2016, Rhonda was named a finalist in CanFitPro’s Fitness Professionals of the Year. More recently, as a member of Healthy Dancer Canada, Rhonda became the chair of The BIPOC Advocacy Working Group. Ms. Roberts also holds a degree in Sociology from McMaster University, and a Musical Theatre diploma from Randolph Academy.
Alex Thompson (Director-at-Large 2020)
I see Healthy Dancer Canada’s mission of fostering collaboration between dance educators, healthcare providers, and researchers as vital to the Canadian Dance Community. I work as a Registered Physiotherapist treating many young dancers and gymnasts and I am committed to promoting healthy dance practice both in and out of the clinic. My childhood and undergraduate experiences in the dance community equip me with the unique ability to approach my patients’ goals from a dance-specific perspective. As a clinician, I have the opportunity to teach young dancers how to advocate for themselves in the studio and manage their injuries independently and safely. It also allows me to communicate directly with dance educators to help them support their students’ health and wellbeing. Treating this population has reinforced the importance of organizations such as HDC to promote healthy practice, especially at an early age. It is encouraging to see many dance educators embracing new research, and I am committed to reaching out to those locally who have not yet updated their more traditional practices. I am eager to assist with this work on a larger scale as part of an organization with a national audience.
Throughout my post-secondary academic career, I served on multiple student associations and committees. This is experience that I believe will serve me well on the HDC Board of Directors. As a member of the BIPOC community, I also bring a perspective that aligns with HDC’s goals to address institutional racism. My lived experience as a woman of colour in the Canadian Dance Community has shaped my career and I am committed to being a visible representation for young BIPOC dancers and dance scientists looking for themselves in organizational leadership.
Alex (she/her) is a graduate of York University’s Faculty of Fine Arts where she majored in Dance. While at York, she was privileged to train and work with many inspiring Toronto dance artists who nurtured her love of movement and cultivated a curiosity about the human body. She went on to teach contemporary dance on Vancouver Island until she began a Master’s of Science in Physical Therapy at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. She works as a Registered Physiotherapist in Victoria, BC.
Alex's clinical practice is split between Orthopaedics and Pelvic Health. She has training in clinical pilates, pelvic health, and manual therapy. She has a special interest in working with performing artists and treats many dancers, circus artists, singers, actors, and gymnasts. Both in and out of the clinic, teaching remains a passion. Alex regularly offers workshops to local dancers that combine dance technique, conditioning, anatomy, biomechanics, and safe dance practice. She also teaches the Anatomy module of the Post-Secondary Bridge Program at Victoria Academy of Ballet. Alex continues her own learning outside of the clinic with ongoing post-graduate education and a ballet class whenever she has the chance.