Real Stories, Real Lives: Jennifer Cadden | Actors Fund

Real Stories, Real Lives: Jennifer Cadden

August 11, 2014 | Client Stories

“When I really say it changed my direction in my career by going to these meetings, I really mean it. I don’t think I’d be sitting here right now if The Actors Fund and The Dancers’ Resource wasn’t available to me.”

–Jennifer Cadden, dancer and Pilates instructor

In 1882, The Actors Fund began its long and important tradition of providing vital services to entertainment and performing arts professionals who were facing times of need, crisis or transition. But the real story of The Actors Fund is best told by people in our creative community who know first-hand how The Fund helps artists to thrive. Meet Jennifer.

While performing in a Nashville production of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Jennifer injured her neck and hip. When she returned to New York and wanted to see a doctor, she discovered the production company had filed for bankruptcy, so she didn’t have access to the documents she needed to file for workers compensation. She turned to The Fund.

Her social worker sat down for her and helped her file a claim so she could have surgery. “I was 24, I had not a clue how to handle any of this. Especially being an injured dancer—not only being plucked out of my community and thrown to the side, but now I had to learn how to advocate for myself and learn how to do all the paperwork. And then there was the whole drama of it, having the hip surgery and not being able to perform or work. It took me four years to get through the process. So The Actors Fund was really there to help guide me, and they were amazing advocates.”

She also utilized The Dancers’ Resource and its Injured Dancers Support Group. “It was really a place where dancers could get together, and when a doctor wasn’t treating me fairly, they would say, ‘That’s not fair!’ They really gave me the tools and backing to make the right decisions and empowered me to stand up for myself.”

She met another dancer in the group who got injured in the same show (different city), who was working at a Pilates studio. “I ended up getting a job at the front desk; after I earned my certification at the Kane School of Core Integration, they offered me a job. I'm now an Expert Instructor at Kinected where I work with injured dancers and athletes.”

The Actors Fund also helped her with some emergency financial assistance, and she also utilized The Career Center services, which ultimately led her to pursue the American Ballet Theater Teacher Training and the National Dance Institute Teacher Artist Training (for which our Career Center awarded her a scholarship). She just finished her training, and is also once again pursuing her performing career.

“It’s really kind of insane when I think back and look at it, because since 2007 they are still popping up in my life. It’s really outstanding—it’s not just a program where you’re in and out the door, once you’re a part of The Actors Fund, you’re a lifer. You’re a part of the family.”

“I have no idea where I would be without The Actors Fund.”

Explore actorsfund.org to learn more about our free and confidential programs and services for everyone in performing arts and entertainment, including The Dancers' Resource and The Career Center. Help us be there to help those in need in our creative community by making a donation today!