We chat with some of our Group’s leading talent about the moment they knew they had found their calling. This month The Star Sydney’s Grand Foyer aerial acrobat, Julie Cameron, shares how she fell in love with dancing on air.
What was your first full-time job? What did you love and hate about it?
I would be lying if I said that being an international competing gymnast for Great Britain at the age of 14 wasn’t a full-time job. It was many years of complete dedication to the sport, extensive training and striving for perfection. I think every elite athlete can agree that they have a love/hate relationship with training and the preparation involved for competitions. Pushing your own boundaries to achieve what you didn’t think was humanly possible and not only fulfilling your own expectations but also all those who helped you along the way. It has definitely helped shape who I am.
At the age of 17 after competing at the Sports Acrobatics World Championships in Portugal I was selected by one of the Cirque Du Soleil scouts and was offered a position in the show ‘Quidam’. I was giving the chance to tour the world as a ‘Flyer Acrobat’ in one of Cirque’s Golden Globe Winning Acts, ‘Banquine’. I then spent almost a decade performing 3000 shows being tossed to the top of human pyramids, being flown through the air and hanging 42ft high.
How were you introduced to aerial acrobatics?
After 3 years travelling with Cirque I received an opportunity to move into a new role within the show as an aerialist. I returned to the Cirque Du Soleil Head Quarters in Montreal to complete the training for show quality. My time there was not only spent learning the acrobatics but to develop the new characters I would be playing and to learn the new show make up.
What made you fall in love with it?
Becoming an aerialist I had the opportunity to perform as a soloist, and develop my own skills and choreography. It really gave me the chance to evolve from a performing gymnast into a real artist. I was able to use aerial acrobatics to fuel my creativity. The passion I have for training and all the hard work behind the scenes to develop new concepts, meaning and artistry is why I still love it.
What challenges have you overcome?
Three challenges I had to overcome:
- Injuries are common when performing up to 12 shows a week. The demands that we put on our bodies are high. Through injuries, I learnt to respect my body and to be patient when my body was recovering.
- As an artist, it’s important to understand that you are not always the right person for every role and are not always going to be picked for the part you may really want. This is something that can be hard as art often comes down to taste. What one person might like, someone else doesn’t. It’s important to try and not take it personally, but this is challenging.
- Living on tour for almost a decade wasn’t always easy and making the decision to leave the company after being there for so many years. I left a very structured life to become an independent performer creating my own acts. I moved to Sydney to join my husband and to start a life outside what felt like at the time its own little bubble. Change can be uncomfortable but is necessary to grow and I couldn’t be happier to call Sydney home.
What has been a career highlight for you?
Performing in London at the Royal Albert Hall with Cirque Du Soleil was an incredible experience but also being given the chance to create shows for the ‘Aqualume’ within The Star Grand Foyer has been a special moment for me. The collaboration with Ramus Illumination on the project was incredibly inspiring. The team at The Star have given us the platform to display all types of art, creating an immersive experience and this has been a real gift
What do you hope to communicate to audiences through your work?
With every show or act it’s important to have a story. The audience may interpret this story in their own way but what is most important is that the audience have a moment to escape their own reality and feel something they haven’t felt before. Bringing out raw emotions in the audience members means we have done our job properly,
How do you stay motivated and inspired?
When your job is not only a job but your passion the motivation somehow comes from within. I definitely have my ups and downs but continue to develop new ideas that haven’t been done before and designing new props, apparatuses and costumes. There are so many elements to creating a great show, this often means collaborating with other inspiring artists. I love being part of a team and developing an idea to create the best product possible.
Who do you look up to most? Who is your role model in the professional space?
I have so much respect for anyone that has a great passion for what they do. Creativity and art is everywhere and in so many other professions. I have a great love for all the small details and the uniqueness that each artist brings. I often take the time to really appreciate all the help I have had from coaches, creative directors and of course my family and friends who have supported my path that some would say is quite unique.
What’s next for you?
With the global situation at the moment it has been quite a shift for the entertainment industry. I have been using this time to develop other skills, work on technique as well creating a small team of performers to enjoy cultivating new material and concepts for next year.