Better Late Than Never for Burpengary Dancer Jordan Butler
Jordan Butler was 14-years-old before he slipped on a ballet shoe, but just seven short years later the Burpengary 21-year-old has received a coveted Melbourne City Ballet scholarship.
Jordan may have been a late starter, but his natural affinity for the craft and unwavering dedication to practice has seen him chosen as one of four scholarship recipients out of 600 hopefuls.
According to Jordan, his love for dancing was born during a trip to Vanuatu when he was seven which led to him picking up hip hop classes on his return. But he was not exposed to ballet until he had the option to choose it as a subject during high school at Mueller College.
“As soon as I started ballet I said to my Mum, this is it, this is what I want to do,” Jordan says. “To me ballet is about flow and strength and peace. I find it very calming.”
The scholarship is a dream come true for Jordan, who trained from the age of 14 at Five Star Dance Academy in North Lakes across several styles of dance. The odds were against him from the start.
“When I started at Five Star my classmates had been learning from the age of three,” Jordan says. “Here I was at fourteen, a beginner, and a boy.
“My family also didn’t grow up with the arts, so it was an unusual path for me to take, but when you work out what you want to do with your life you just do everything you can to get there.”
The scholarship program will see Jordan perform across Australia from January 2019, offering him the kind of exposure and training he will need to join international dance companies in the future.
“My ultimate goal is to join a company in Europe,” Jordan says. “I’ve had teachers who have danced in Europe who are my inspiration. I would not be the dancer I am without what they have taught me.”
Artistic Director of Melbourne City Ballet, Michael Pappalardo, says he has seen male dancers enter the industry as beginners as late as 16.
“While fourteen was late for Jordan to start ballet, it wasn’t too late,” Michael says. “Boys don’t often have as many options to participate in ballet as girls do when they are younger, so when they get to sixteen or so they make a choice to join up and that gives them their drive to succeed.”
Michael says Jordan’s scholarship will be “like a full-time job”, with dance classes five days a week from 9:30am to 5:30pm.
“It makes for a hectic schedule,” Michael says, “but Jordan is more than capable.”
And Michael has a message for future hopefuls who are looking to follow in Jordan’s footsteps.
“It’s not luck,” Michael says. “It’s hard work.”
Jordan has danced in several shows across Australia during 2018 so far, most recently starring at The Events Centre, Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast as part of the Madame Butterfly production.