Pocket rocket Juliet Burnett brought her all to the WAH stage – something she does best as a highly successful ballerina, dancing with the Australian Ballet. Juliet is one to thank for our killer opening to the WAH activewear show, which set a powerful atmosphere for what surprises were in store. Lucky enough to be able to turn her life-long passion into a profession, Juliet loves and makes the most of everyday, inspiring those around her to simply do what they love – the We Are Handsome brand is designed with exactly this in mind.
What inspired you to start being active?
I dreamed of being a ballet dancer from a young age, as many girls do. In order to achieve that, I had to undertake years of strict and rigorous training. Ballet is an art form, but our physical demands are equivalent to those of an athlete. The difference is that we have to make it look easy; part of the art is in making our movements effortless.
What do you love most about this lifestyle?
I am making a living with my passion. I need to dance like I need to breathe. What’s not to love?!
What is a normal day like for you?
I’m up early for a morning Pilates session, then each morning we do ballet class. From here the day varies depending on whether I am in a performance season or rehearsal period. For the latter, I’ll be rehearsing intensively on a variety of upcoming ballets until 6:30pm, with a short lunch break in between. When there’s a show at night, we rehearse until 3pm, have a couple of hours break before I get in to the theatre by 5pm to warm up and prepare for the show that starts at 7:30pm and finishes anywhere between 9:30pm and 11pm, depending on the production. We work six days per week, with Sunday our only day off, and when we are performing we have two shows on a Saturday and sometimes even two shows on a Wednesday. This year The Australian Ballet will perform over 180 shows around Australia and overseas. At night I wind down by doing some writing (I have my own blog www.dancinginaturningworld.com as well as writing for dance websites and publications) and, when at home in Melbourne, hanging out with my husband, music producer Nick Thayer, and our house rabbit Sadie.
How do you balance your time?
Balance is key to longevity in this profession. It is all-consuming: even when I’m not in the studio or onstage, I’m thinking about how I can perfect a role that I’m working on. It’s important to give yourself breathing space, to switch off as much as possible. I’m so lucky to have Nick and my family provide that much-needed perspective in my life, as well as many friends who aren’t in the profession. I find that really important, to be reminded of life outside the bubble you can so easily create for yourself when you’re so involved in your work.
What is your favourite work out?
Dancing. It’s physical and an outlet for expression. It’s great to see more adult ballet classes popping up – what a great way to keep your body fit and pliant, and your mind constantly stimulated! From an exercise point-of-view, Pilates is the perfect accompaniment for ballet dancers. I’ve been doing it since I was 12.
What is your best beauty tip?
Choose cruelty-free. Massacring animals for beauty is far from beautiful.
What do you eat on an average day?
I have been vegetarian since age 16 and vegan for the past 2 years. I’ve never felt more energetic in my life. It’s the right thing for my body and mind. For any highly physical person it’s important to fuel yourself wisely. I’ve got a super high metabolism so I find that the best thing that works for me is lots of smaller meals throughout the day in between the three big main meals. Typically I will have homemade supercharged granola with almond milk, a slice of toast with something like avocado/tomato and tahini on multi-seed toast and a soy latte for breakfast; a legume, dark leafy greens and veggie-packed salad for lunch and something like an Indonesian curry for dinner (my Mum is Indonesian and she taught me how to cook) packed with tempeh, tofu and veggies. For the little meals in between it’s a pick and mix from bananas, apples, homemade muesli bars, little sandwiches (I love nut butter), raw nuts and green smoothies. Oh, and the day always finishes with some dark chocolate!
Favourite work out music/song?
When I’m dancing then obviously it would be the music of the ballet. For our daily morning class we have a pianist so that is the soundtrack of my ‘workout’. At Pilates it’s always nice to have something calming and ambient playing in the background.
Your favourite thing to do when you are not working out?
Hanging out with the people I love.
Favourite place you have travelled to?
Indonesia, my second home.
Dream place you’d like to travel to?
India has been at the top of the list for a while.
Fitness goal you dream to reach?
I want to be the best dancer I can be, to realise my full expressive potential with my body whilst it is still fit enough to do so. The lifespan of a dancer is cruelly short – it is rare to dance beyond 40.
How do you see your future?
I hope it will be happy and fulfilled. I dream of taking the transformative magic of dance to those who aren’t fortunate enough to be able to see it for themselves – those living in poverty, for example. Dance is a universal language that everyone should have the opportunity to experience. I also want to continue writing as it is my second love and that is something I can continue to do once my body has given up on me!
What are 3 things you can’t live without?
My husband, my family and friends.
Your favourite photo you ever took?
I really enjoy taking photos, but I’m going to turn this question around a bit and say that our wedding photos hold a special place in my heart. We insisted that there would be no posed shots, so the result was a candid capture of those precious moments that just whoosh by so fast that it’s hard to just ‘be’ and enjoy. Those photos allow me to experience the day all over again.