MDM muse Juliet Doherty is excitedly planning a trip to Australia this April for Victorian Dance Festival (VDF) in Melbourne. At the festival, Doherty will teach two ballet classes, as well as perform in the popular On Stage with VDF showcase.
“I’m really looking forward to performing,” she tells Dance Informa. “I am always grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with my mum, who has choreographed works on me since I started competing at about nine years old.”
At only 21, Doherty has already achieved much in her budding career. The two-time Gold Medalist at Youth America Grand Prix trained at the San Francisco Ballet School on full scholarship from 2012-2015, before dancing with Phoenix Ballet for two years and then breaking into Hollywood.
She has recently finished filming the new High Strung sequel, High Strung: Free Dance, after success as the lead in 2018 dance film, On Pointe. She most recently appeared in the lead role of Lise in the Tony Award-winning musical, An American in Paris at the Hale Center Theater, Utah, and as a young dancer, she danced the role of Clara for three years in the Radio City Rockettes Christmas Spectacular.
Apart from looking forward to the vegan restaurant scene in Melbourne, which Doherty says “is to die for”, she can’t wait to catch up with what she calls her “MDM family”.
“I started wearing MDM shoes when I was 15, and at San Francisco Ballet School,” Doherty explains. “Before MDM, I had chronic lower back pain, tendinitis and hip pain, which is not usual for the common teenager. When I began dancing in MDM shoes, my pain virtually went away (aside from the standard aches of any athletic training). I have done the most rigorous years of my training in exclusively MDM shoes, and I have never had an injury! I believe so strongly in the technology. MDM truly are leading the revolution in dancewear, by not only thinking of the aesthetic of a shoe but also supporting the longevity of dancers.”
With shoes that help Doherty to achieve her dreams, like her favourite Intrinsic Profile performance slippers, she has already kicked so many career goals. When asked, she finds it hard to pin point a highlight but names perseverance as one of her secrets to success.
“Some of the greater highlights of my student and professional career thus far have come from the hardest fights – both internal and external challenges,” she reveals. “I definitely look back and am thankful for the tough spaces that I’ve had to push through, because they have offered me so much opportunity and inspiration on the other side.”
And your next inspiration might just come from some of the stunning dance scenes in the new High Strung: Free Dance film, which was worth the long hours and perspiration, according to Doherty.
“Filming High Strung: Free Dance was one of the most fun and most intense projects I’ve ever worked on,” she says. “The biggest challenges I faced were long shoot days, a lot of the time up to 16 hours on set. One thing that you won’t notice in the film is that the majority of the dance scenes were filmed between 12-4am!”
Doherty sites the talented cast as helping her through this grueling regime. “Managing my energy was a huge challenge, but the highlight was being able to spend these long days with the best cast,” she says.
Doherty grew up watching classic Hollywood movies that meshed the worlds of dance, music and film together, and now she stars in them!
“I guess a part of me feels like I’m reliving my childhood dreams when I get to be a part of a really unique film like High Strung: Free Dance,” she shares.
The theme for VDF 2019 is “bigger and bolder”, under the helm of new Directors Daniel and Deborah Searle, the founders of Dance Informa magazine. In beautiful synchronicity, Doherty upholds the same mantra, giving readers advice about making bold decisions.
“Lately, I’ve been thinking about the topic of making choices that seem risky or bold,” she shares. “I’ve never regretted taking a chance in something that felt true to my intuition or self-expression. My path has always been slightly unconventional in classical ballet, and I’ve had to navigate growing up in a world with a lot of strong judgments on how I should direct my career. Training myself to listen for opinions that support my most actualised self and tune out the unnecessary chatter has been just as crucial as training my body. Dancers, don’t forget to develop your mind with the same care as your technique!”
Meet Juliet Doherty at VDF 2019 at Batman Royale, Coburg on the weekend before Easter, April 13 and 14. Doherty’s visit to VDF is sponsored by MDM. For more information and tickets, head to .
By Deborah Searle of Dance Informa.