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Sep 29, 2022

This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra interviews Joseph Morrissey, Director of Dance at the Interlochen Center for the Arts. Prior to this role, he served in a similar role with the Hong Kong Ballet. As a professional dancer, he danced with the Bavarian State Ballet in Munich and the Boston Ballet II.  He’s a seasoned choreographer and also has instructed for various dance companies, including the American Ballet Theatre Studio Company. He also currently serves on the juries for the Youth America Grand Prix, the International Baltic Ballet Competition, and the Japan Grand Prix.

Joseph’s resume is impressive, but above all else, Joseph is a leader — a calling that he considers a privilege. And one of the things that Joseph most tries to do in his work at Interlochen is to use arts to impart leadership skills to his students. On the podcast, Joseph talks all things Interlochen but deep dives on what makes for good leaders, the challenges and joys of leadership, and how he’s raising up the next generation of arts leaders.


Moving Quotes:

"It's a privilege for me to lead. Thankfully, that calling aligns with what my 'job' is."

"There's no one way [to arts leadership] ... Recognizing that truth makes for a better leadership style."

"I always encourage dancers to think 'outside the box' of just the career as a performer ... There really is no 'one way street' to the ultimate destination of how dance will be a part of one's life."

"Making tough decisions is not always fun. But it's important that there's always something in hindsight or something to look forward to."

"When doing a capital campaign or if you're looking to build a structure, think of the bigger picture and dream big. And inevitably it will happen."

"Sometimes, we learn a lot of 'do's,' but we also learn a lot of the 'don’ts' ... It's the combination of those learning lessons that make for a fun and competent leader."

"That's what makes [Interlocken] even more remarkable. Even in the midst of a pandemic, we still built this fabulous building. We still have high enrollment. We still have garnered excitement and interest in the program overall. I marvel at that."


Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed:

3:32: Joseph gives some information about Interlochen, including any new or existing programs the school offers.

6:30: Joseph explains why he believes his school has undergone such drastic growth over the past few years.

9:10: Joseph, who just completed a building campaign, shares some advice on convincing authority figures that certain efforts are worth the investment.

13:54: Morrissey explains how he equips his current dance students to become future leaders.

19:43: Morrissey discusses the importance of mentorship and how it often pays to be proactive in identifying students to mentor.

22:31: Joseph shares some wise words for any dancers that are currently planning out their futures.

27:30: Joseph explains the importance of stepping outside of the stage performance “box” and experiencing the arts from different angles and roles.

31:12: Joseph, who is a renown choreographer, reflects on his biggest takeaways over his illustrious choreography career.

36:13: Morrissey discusses the most challenging thing he must do as Interlochen’s director.

40:00: Joseph looks to the future and discusses what’s next for Interlochen.


Bullet List of Resources – 

Joseph Morrissey

Interlochen Center for the Arts