I am so pleased to bring you today’s conversation with exquisite dancer and budding entrepreneur Joel Burke.

I love this conversation because it combines so many of my loves; ballet tales, business chat and young entrepreneurship. But first I want to share with you a funny realisation I had before this interview…

Before we began recording, Joel was sharing a story about walking into a business meeting in which he felt his age was a slight disadvantage but I quickly reminded him that it’s definitely an advantage! We then had a quick chat about the pros and cons of building a business or entering meetings in your early twenties and how you’re either praised or not taken very seriously… there’s no middle ground, it’s kind of one or the other!

But soon after having this chat I realised that no one had commented on my age recently. What a startling realisation! Back in the day my age ALWAYS came up in various contexts. Favourable versions of this looked like, “Wow you have your own studio at such an impressively young age!”  or “That was an amazing class, I can’t believe how young you are!” and less favourable versions looked like, “Whilst we love your studio, I’d rather a teacher thats older with more experience…” Interestingly, many people who said the latter have come crawling back since.

Which means… umm, am I officially old now? Not only because clients who previously thought I was too young to impart any wisdom have suddenly returned but also because no one seems to comment on my age any more. No one is impressed with the fact I’m my own boss anymore and honestly, I actually couldn’t care less but I think it’s a pretty funny realisation I’m only now just having. I’m actually very much looking forward to entering this part of my career where my experience isn’t questioned anymore due to the appearance of some grey hairs…

Anyway, I digress! Let’s get back to the insanely talented Joel…

Joel is a beautiful ballet dancer that has trained extensively with The Australian Ballet School and Queensland Ballet Academy. In fact, we both share a deep love and respect for Paul Boyd who listeners of the pod are well acquainted with having both been taught by him for many years.

During our conversation we dive into Joel’s experience as a Prix de Lausanne finalist and how he has decided to move away from the traditional route of becoming a professional ballet dancer to explore feature film opportunities, event management and anything else that tickles his fancy when it comes to shaking up this industry.

Can you see why I’m a big fan of Joel? Young and full of spirit with just the right amount of rebel in him that shows respect to the dance industry whilst simultaneously questioning past practices and look at reinventing the wheel. Because of this I’m officially a Joel fan and I think you will be too after listening to this conversation.

Joel’s most recent endeavour is to bring the most talented ballet dancers from across the world together to showcase their incredible ability over a series of two intimate evenings at South Bank’s Piazza Auditorium, which is an incredible outdoor stage that’s fully undercover. Perfect for covid times!

Shortened to BIG, the Ballet International Gala is the perfect mix of international and local partners with Julian Mackay (Principal dancer with San Francisco Ballet) and Lauren Lovette  (former Principal dancer with NYC Ballet) amongst others bringing some international heat with the local likes of Mia Heathcote (Senior Soloist with Queensland Ballet) and Victor Estevez (Principal with Queensland Ballet).

Attracting art and ballet enthusiasts, this event is actually going to be like no other. Joel wants you to feel like you’re at a ballet festival whilst celebrating the artists like rockstars and highlighting the importance of bringing ballet to the people.

BIG is on Friday 25th and Saturday 26th June of this year (I’ll actually be attending the Friday performance!) and you can purchase tickets from balletinternationalgala.com – I hope to see you there and whilst I have only met Joel the once for this interview, I am so proud of this young mans ability to form an amazing team around him and shoot for the moon.

Enjoy my conversation with Joel Burke!

Grit & Grace,