Balancing the Grind with Shaun Parker, Artistic Director at Shaun Parker & Company

Shaun Parker is an award-winning choreographer, dancer, actor and counter-tenor whose work has spanned film, television and live theatre productions.

He is Artistic Director of Shaun Parker & Company, which he founded in 2010.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

I am the Artistic Director of Shaun Parker & Company. After studying a Science degree at Monash University, I then went on to study dance at the Victorian College of the Arts.

After graduation, I danced for over 20 years, travelling internationally and performing in a wide range of theatres and venues. I truly loved it, however after performing other people’s choreography for so long, I found that when I would get home from rehearsals, all I could think about was how I would have choreographed it differently.

I desperately wanted to improve sequences and put my own spin on it and it was in those moments that I had to start creating my own pieces and become a choreographer. I founded Shaun Parker & Company ten years ago and have been choreographing ever since!

2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

It may sound cliché but everyday is different. I travel a lot with work, whether that’s touring performances, attending conferences or running workshops, I travel both nationally and internationally quite regularly.

Wherever I am in the world, I wake up early and check my emails first thing, I then make sure I go for a run or a swim, do one hour of yoga to relax my body and focus my mind and I then tackle the day.

Rehearsals with dancers or meetings with the wider Shaun Parker & Company team, strategic planning, applying for government grants and discussing new works, all come into my weekly activity, but like I say, each day can vary so it’s key that I stay on top of my schedule and emails.

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

Fortunately yes – I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t work remotely! I can check my emails on the go and my team can always reach me.

Although recently I was in the middle of the Daintree Rainforest for an exciting short film that I am involved in and the internet signal wasn’t so great there, but besides that I’m always online!

Always being online can be amazing for work, but it can also impact your home life so I navigate that very carefully to ensure I still spend quality time with my daughter and I don’t allow work to get in the way of those precious moments.

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

Work-life balance is very important. For me, I think it’s one of those things we all talk about but how many of us actually make it a priority?

As much as my work schedule varies, I try my hardest to maintain my health, regular exercise, spend time with my daughter and also take some downtime for myself.

If I can keep consistency in these areas then this keeps me on track.

5) What do you think are some of the best habits or routines that you’ve developed over the years to help you achieve success in your life?

Regular exercise and eating well, as well as dedicating time to my daughter, my family and friends, and also to my Shaun Parker & Company team.

I like to check in with everyone to make sure they are happy and to remind them that I am here should they ever need any support. If I know my team and loved ones are happy, then I can truly enjoy my free time.

6) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?

Character & Neurosis by Chilean Claudio Naranjo is outstanding in terms of ego structures, personality, and personal awareness and transformation.

7) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?

Yoga – I can’t recommend it enough. It’s calming, it helps you focus, it keeps your body supple and it helps your mind focus on what’s important. Also a good cardio session can work wonders!

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?

Michelle and Barack Obama – despite incredible pressure from all sides, they appear to maintain a healthy and balanced perspective for themselves and their families.  

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

Always make sure you prioritise your life as much as your work. While we need to work in order to live well, we also need to live to enable us to work well. They are both so important!

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.