The Morning Ritual of a Male Ballet Dancer | Joel Burke
No doubt by this stage you’re familiar with our incredibly talented Model Search Winner, Dance Informa Cover star and Victorian Dance Festival 2019 Ambassador, professional dancer Joel Burke, who’s been making waves in the dance community for all the right reasons (namely an over-abundance of talent and being possibly the world’s nicest human …We’re not exaggerating). So if you haven’t gotten to know this up and coming star yet we’d recommend checking out his feature interview and photoshoot with Energetiks from earlier in the year (find it here). However for those of you who, like us, are already firmly on Team Joel already, we have some more recent and very exciting news to share: Joel has just released a stunning short film, ‘The Morning Ritual of a Male Ballet Dancer’ (Directed by Craig Ratcliffe and shot by Christopher Blakely). We decided to have a bit of a chat with Joel and find out exactly what went into the making of this candid peek into the daily ritual of ballet for the male dancer. See our chat, Joel’s stunning video and some photos from his recent visit to Melbourne down below!
The Morning Ritual of a Male Ballet Dancer
Dancer/Choreographer: Joel Burke
Director/DOP: Craig Ratcliffe
Camera/Post Production: Christopher Blakely
Sound Recordist: Yeo Seow Yen
Sound Design: Chris McKeith
Production Assistant/Artist Management: Jen Burke
E: Hey Joel, congrats on the fantastic film! What were you aiming to portray through ‘The Morning Ritual of a Male Dancer’?
JB: I wanted the film to be completely honest. I think the public’s idea of what a male ballet danseur is/does is somewhat distorted. So for me the video had to be as authentic as possible. Everything that goes on in the film is what happens every morning for a male ballet dancer before he commences rehearsals or performance. Throughout class you start by stretching and warming up and progress into Grande Allegro (big jumps), I wanted to show what goes on for a ballet dancer not only physically but mentally.
E: In the video, we get to see a little more of the punishing physicality of ballet, which is an aspect that’s usually concealed. What made you decide to share the grittier side of the artform?
JB: One thing about ballet which is quite frustrating is that you are trained to ‘make it look easy’, which can sometimes have the reverse affect on the audience as they don’t realise the work that has gone into the performance. I wanted the viewer to see the authentic side of training and show them the commitment and determination that is required by a danseur which is not always ‘pleasing’ to witness.
E: Tell us about filming day, it looks like it would’ve been a pretty punishing shoot! How long did the process take?
JB: The day of shooting was extremely punishing! We had 7 hours to get everything done. I was pretty much dancing for 7 hours straight in a room without air conditioning. Hence all the sweat, which I thought might be a problem however the Director of Photography Craig Ratcliffe loved it! Being in a beautiful old Museum, it was also extremely slippery and the uneven timber floorboards really tested my training!
E: What are you hoping people might take away from watching the film?
JB: I want the whole image that the general public have of ballet dancers to change. We are not only artists, we are elite athletes. I believe it’s time that people got to see this side of ballet.
E: And have you currently got any other exciting projects lined up?
JB: Well, I can’t exactly share any upcoming works just yet… However, if you liked this film, my next projects will not disappoint!
Follow Joel on instagram @joelburke_ to stay up to date with his upcoming projects,
and stay tuned here on the blog for more photos from Joel’s latest photoshoot with Energetiks in Melbourne last month.
Article and photography by Elly Ford