We had the good fortune of connecting with Julie Gill and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Julie, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I began my career as a web developer and moved into product management, but my love and passion for ballet lived alongisde that career and I always longed to be able to go further into the world of ballet. I always knew the software industry wasn’t the place for me, but it is a very versatile place to begin, and so I learned as much as I could during that time. In the meantime, I took as many opportunities as I could find for adults in ballet to continue furthering my training and fostering my love of ballet, including working with a private teacher named Beth Kurtz in New York City. As a late-starter-turned-pro herself, she always had a soft spot for me and pushed me extra hard. After one of our lessons, she slipped down the staircase and broke her back. She never taught again, but she did spend her last days teaching me how to teach. This was my first apprenticeship, and my first exposure to teaching ballet. When she passed away, I started my own business, Broche Ballet, to give adults like myself a place where they can study and train with ballet at a high level, including working towards pointework and performance opportunities. Typically, intensive ballet training is reserved for kids, but I opened Broche Ballet to give that level of training to adults, even if they had no prior dance experience. It is particularly challenging as an adult dancer to be taken seriously and to find schools and instructors who will push us to our maximum potential, and Broche Ballet is changing that by giving adults a place to share, foster, and fuel their passion for ballet.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I opened Broche Ballet in 2017, as a tiny single-room ballet studio in Denver, Colorado while I still worked remotely full-time as a product manager for a software company. The tiny studio space was much smaller than anyone would recommend opening, but I had a dream, a limited budget from my savings, and an opportunity to get started! Within 3 years, I opened 2 more locations in Denver, grew to a team of 12, and put on an incredible show with a cast of nearly 50 adult dancers. When COVID hit, we changed our operations entirely online. Unfortunately, the physical studios could not continue to operate, and we closed them permanently at the end of June 2020. Now, as a team of 1 again, Broche Ballet Online has continued to grow and support dancers all over the USA and in a few additional countries. We share in the love, joy, and passion of ballet from our individual homes. We dance, laugh, sweat, and work remotely from all walks of live. The vision of Broche is still alive and well — adults are still taken seriously, learning true ballet technique, and pushing their bodies to their full potential. The journey until now has not always been easy especially this year, but the vision is strong and the dancers in the Broche community share the love and passion for ballet. Confidence comes from overcoming challenges, and so with each challenge, my confidence as a leader, business owner, and ballet teacher continues to grow to support me through the next challenges ahead.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
My favorite spot in Denver is the performing arts center, especially right after a show lets out. The buzz is magical! Even if you didn’t go to a show, just being there when the crowds start pouring out is full of incredible energy and connection.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Beth Kurtz, my first private ballet instructor who taught me to believe in my potential, and who gave me my start in teaching ballet.
Other: https://instagram.com/julietheballerina https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/broche-banter-adult-ballet-training-philosophy-inspiration/id1507949706
Emily Harraka Photography