Jump for Jo!

“I can still do the splits! I’m not naturally flexible, but I reckon that you either use it or you lose it!”

It’s this flexible, can-do attitude that has seen LUCRF Super member Jo Holgate dance around the world. It’s a love that began when she was knee-high to a grasshopper and continues to this day.

“On the dance floor or on a stage I’m a different person,” she says. “When you have an audience it’s like you’re right there with them, feeling everything that they’re feeling.”

At age six, Jo was desperate to learn ballet but with her mum holding the fort while her dad was off fighting as a gunner in World War II, Jo was enrolled in less-expensive callisthenics classes.

To compensate, Jo hunkered down at the back of her best friend’s ballet classes, closely studying the steps that she would diligently practise by herself at home. At 16, she had saved enough money working at Coles to finance her own ballet classes at the Borovansky Ballet School in the centre of Melbourne.

From there, Jo trained with the acclaimed dancer, Martin Rubinstein OAM, and performed for television with the Solymossy Ballet. She then joined the Alex Karasoff Russian Dance School where she danced with Ashton’s Circus performing classical routines with live carpet and python snakes!

Snakes?

“Yes, snakes!” Jo laughs. “And I learned so much about working with them! Nine snakes were brought down from Queensland and we danced with seven of them at one time on a rotating basis. You can only feed a snake once a month and then they shed. Their skin is so tender at that time that they can’t be held.

All the while, Jo worked full-time at Doward International as a payroll officer, a position she held for 41 years. It was there that Jo developed a strong relationship with LUCRF Super.

“Back when I started, super was only offered to men, not women. Once it did open up to us, I researched each of the super funds and chose LUCRF Super. I really appreciated the way that the business development managers came out to answer any questions that I or any of the staff had - so I set it as Doward’s default fund.”

Jo is passionate about all kinds of dance. She has competed at national and international levels in line, clog, Latin, modern, rock ‘n’ roll, and ballroom dancing. It was while she was ballroom dancing that she caught up with the love of her life, Colin, who had been in the same primary school with her. He sadly passed away nine years ago.

“Col was a real clown who was loved by everyone,” Jo reminisces.  “He had a wonderful nature. It didn’t matter how difficult anything was, he’d always make a joke about it. He really was the only guy ever for me.”

Jo’s energetic journey continues. In 2006, her clog dancing team won gold at the 2006 Chicago Gay Olympics and in 2014 she walked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru. A route located in the Andes mountain range, the Inca Trail requires an ascent to beyond 13,800 ft above sea level.

 “I’ve always used my own get up and go,” she reflects. “I’ve always done things for myself and then gone out to make it happen! I think you’ve just got to keep pushing yourself forward.”