Culture: Brooke Lockett, The Australian Ballet
In life there are career path’s many dream of but don’t dare to embark on. But not Brooke Lockett. The epiphany of following one’s dreams came to Brooke at the tender age of 10. Having experience her very first taste of ballet by attending The Australian Ballet’s production of Merry Widow, Brooke knew she wanted to be more than an observer. From that moment she new she wanted to be a part of the action.
Nowadays, the leading man of the production, David McAllister, is her boss. Brooke is a ballerina with the very company inspired her to follow her career path. Here is her story…
Name: Brooke Lockett
Occupation: Ballerina with The Australian Ballet
I started ballet… When I was three years old in my home town of Ballarat in country Victoria just over an hour out of Melbourne.
I was trained… By my best friends Mum and Aunty, Trudy and Lisa Harris at The Ballarat Ballet Centre.
I knew this was my calling when… I was at the theatre seeing The Australian Ballet perform the Merry Widow in Melbourne when I was about ten years old. The leading man was David McAllister whom is now my boss. It is funny how life works. I had a palpable feeling in my heart that night. I knew deep inside me that ballet was my calling.
My career so far… I trained full time at The Australian Ballet School from the age of 15 and in my final year I was offered a contract with The Australian Ballet Company (my dream come true) under the directorship of David McAllister. I have been with the company for ten years now and in that time I have grown into the woman I am today. It hasn’t always been smooth sailing but it has been the most incredible roller coaster ride. I have overcome two knee surgeries, performed all over the world, I’ve shared the stage with some of my best friends and been coached by some of the best. You work so hard and put so much pressure on yourself but it’s all worth it for those euphoric fleeting moments on stage which are hard to even put into words.
Career highlight… Playing Clara in Sir Peter Wrights Nutcracker and the ‘First Love’ in Graeme Murphy’s Beyond 12. Chris Martin from Coldplay coming to see my show and staying for the Q&A after would be high on the list too! It always blows me away the respect other artists have for the ballet, our discipline and passion. My parents seeing me perform in New York City was so special but when I think of career highlights what comes to my mind is granting a wish for Make-A-Wish foundation. Little Olivia stole my heart. All she wished for was to be a ballerina for a day at The Sydney Opera House. How humbling to be able to bring such joy to her life.
A typical day for me involves… My day starts with a hot shower, muesli and a strong coffee. Then I head to pilates or yoga before ballet class at 10:30am. After class we go into rehearsals for the day until 6:30pm if we aren’t performing. If we are we finish at 3pm and then the show is at 7:30pm. Most dancers head into the theatre at about 5pm-5:30pm to prepare for the show. After a show if I have people in I will have a little bite to eat and wine afterwards and then get a good nights sleep.
In our Sydney seasons I am usually up super early to get down to Bondi Beach for a walk and swim before work. Somedays you might have a massage or physio treatment and a gym session. In amongst that you try and squeeze in any personal admin or errands that you need to run. I live life in the fast lane and sometimes have a few projects on the side happening. I’m at my best when i’m busy and on top of things but come Sunday I completely relax and chill with friends and family. Balance is the key in my life. I’m a typical Libran.
I have always looked up to… I’ve never really been one to look up to people or want to be someone else. We are all human and we are all here to be individuals but I guess the people whom I have always admired are Audrey Hepburn and my Mum. That doesn’t mean I don’t admire and or aspire to be like certain artists or individuals. I work with some of the most talented people I know everyday.
Best part of my job… Being on stage!!! Transporting people. Entertaining people. Dance sets me free…
Going to work every day and working alongside some of the most creative and talented people I have ever met is pretty damn inspiring.
What people don’t know… It isn’t always as glamorous as it seems.
I have my bad days and I have struggled a lot with believing in myself at times throughout my career. Ballet has brought me so much joy and opportunity but it has also been a really tough road at times. You need to be so strong mentally. I wish I had the maturity and wisdom I have now when I started out.
And a little something people don’t know is I love fast cars.
On health and fitness… It’s so important. I love feeling great and staying positive so health and fitness is a top priority in my life. With my knee surgery this year I lived at the gym, pilates, yoga and physio but even when I am in busy seasons I find outside of work exercise a great outlet and “me” time. Ballet keeps you incredibly fit but I find I need to add a little cardio and light weight training. Pilates is my saviour and yoga is for my mind and soul. We are all different but I think I will be active my entire life. In my profession your body is your tool therefore I need to respect it and love it.
When travelling… I’m so happy!! Whether it be for work or pleasure I love exploring and discovering new little hidden corners of the world. I always take my Nikon Camera and capture my times abroad. I think travelling is the most precious investment we as humans can make.
Before performance rituals… The last thing I always do is spray myself with perfume (currently Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel) and brush my teeth before applying my lipstick. Prior to that it’s all about a good preparation/warm-up and the right playlist!
I would love to work with… What a great question. There are so many… Mikhail Baryshnikov, Ray Simons, Jay Z, Annie Leibovitz, Richard Branson & Justin Bieber. A girl can dream right?!
If I wasn’t a ballerina I would… be creative in some way for sure. Communications is probably my strength but I would also love to Produce. I won’t be a ballerina forever so you will have to wait and see.
There was never a plan ‘B’ I just knew I wanted to dance but now the future excites me a LOT!! I’m a big believer in seeing where the universe takes you. I’m already heading in directions whilst still dancing that I never saw coming. Put it this way… I’m a dreamer! Their are some exciting opportunities in the pipe line but for now the stage has my fully focus and heart.
My favourite show so far ... I was on for the very last show of the year last year as Clara in The Nutcracker at the Opera House in Sydney. It was such a massive year and probably the best of my career. So often you want to please people or make someone in your life proud but this night I did it for myself. I threw all the rules out the window and found my artistic licence. I had the time of my life. I let something go that night and I knew that this career won’t last forever. When I took my curtain call I took a deep breath and as I stood on my own on the stage in one of my favourite theatres in the world I let the applause wash over me and time stood still momentarily. It was sheer euphoria. I never want to forget that feeling. You never know when you will get an opportunity like that again. There was so much empowerment in knowing this is my career and I’m living it right now. Aside from precious moments and roles and shows what I truly love is catching the eye of some of my dearest friends on stage. We are family and we share a very special journey together. I just feel so lucky to have lived my childhood dream because one day it will all just be something I once did and loved so passionately.