Aug 27, 2019
This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra speaks with Julian MacKay — a ballet dancer whose award-winning ballet skills and striking physical features have gained him worldwide notoriety in both dance and fashion circles. Julian, who is the first American to graduate from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy with a full Russian diploma, has amassed gold medals from some of the world’s top ballet competitions and is now, at age 19, a First Soloist at The Mikhailovsky Theater. Julian has also bridged the gap between the dance and fashion industries, having performed at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, having been chosen by Kendall Jenner out of 200,000 other people to be shot for LOVE Magazine London, and much more.
On the podcast, we get a glimpse into the life of a celebrity. Julian highlights his rise to stardom from his humble beginnings in rural Montana but gives his secret to staying humble and grounded. MacKay also spends some time laying out the cultural differences between the Russian and American dance communities, highlighting strengths and difficulties of his Russian dance education. Perhaps most interestingly, Julian gives a “peek behind the curtain” on how the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show opportunity fell into place and what it’s like backstage during a ballet performance. All of this and more in an episode that listeners are sure to enjoy.
“My day always starts out with motivation, where I’m always working to improve on what it is that I’m focused on. My philosophy is, if you have an opportunity to do something today and improve on it, then maybe tomorrow, it’ll be a little bit better."
“I’d say definitely giving it your all in rehearsals is the best way to prepare for a competition because if you can do it three times full-out in the rehearsal, you’re definitely going to be able to do it one time on stage."
“[Dancing in Russia,] it's really important to keep up a connection with my teacher and keep growing. I finish a show, and right away, there are corrections — right away, you’re trying to fix what you did wrong and become better. Because there’s not much time until the next thing already comes."
“The most difficult [part of my day] is that, whenever you have a lot of things to rehearse, you have to really learn to change your mindset to different characters or different emotions or different styles of dancing, which can be difficult when you’re giving it your all."
Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed:
2:21: Julian discusses his introduction to dance and how he went from small-town Montana to renown The Mikhailovsky Theater.
7:24: Julian shares what he loves about Russian dance culture and what he finds most difficult.
12:08: MacKay discloses the behind-the-scenes story behind being a featured dancer in primetime on the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.
14:34: Julian gives a peek behind the curtain and shares what backstage is like during a ballet production.
15:44: MacKay, who is a world traveler, shares some travel tips for keeping your body fresh during long plane rides.
17:17: Julian describes a typical day in his shoes and shares his philosophy on staying motivated by constantly improving your skills.
21:28: Julian explains how he remains so grounded and humble while being viewed by many as a celebrity in Russia.
23:50: MacKay, an award-winning ballet dancer, shares his best advice on preparing for competitions.
25:15: Julian spends some time encouraging aspiring dancers to pursue their dreams and speaks on the importance of pursuing your life passions.
26:30: Julian discusses the most difficult aspect of being a dancer — the physical pain.
29:01: Julian looks to the future, which includes several personal projects and quite a bit of touring and dancing.
Bullet List of Resources –