20/01/2017 11:35 GMT | Updated 20/01/2017 11:35 GMT

This West End Dancer Is Redefining Strength And Talent

Ultimate respect 👊

Forget everything you thought you knew about dancers and meet Yolanda Burke.

Sure, she’s elegant, graceful and beautiful. She’s also super-strong, athletic and has a workout schedule to rival those of champion sportswomen.

The London native is an ensemble member in the cast of award-winning West End musical The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre, and her dedication, perseverance and commitment to her craft are, quite simply, inspirational. 

While we all know that stage performers rehearse extensively for their roles, Burke’s training regimen goes way beyond rehearsals and performances. Although, with eight The Lion King shows a week, she is getting plenty of practice in the studio.

”You have to be strong to be in The Lion King,” Yolanda explains in a video, which details her intensive training regimen, and highlights her impressive power, hypermobility and lightness on her feet.

“You need perseverance, determination, willpower and patience as well,” she continues.

“We have to train like athletes,” Yolanda says. “My training is about balance, so I want to be strong, but strength is nothing without control.”

Yolanda’s intensive training regimen is what allows her to deliver onstage night after night, giving her the endurance and skill to seamlessly switch from one ensemble role to another and ensuring that each performance she gives is more unforgettable than the last.

Outside of the studio, you’ll find Yolanda doing high-intensity training alternated with jogs, which she then repeats. This is to prepare her body for her onstage dancing, where she pushes herself really hard during a number, and then has a rest afterwards.

Yolanda spends a lot of time “power training,” doing burpees, jumping lunges, and jump squats.

“As a lioness you can’t just be feisty and fierce all the time, or powerful - you also have to be graceful,” explains Yolanda of preparing herself for her other part.

To balance out her strength and cardio training, Yolanda’s fitness regime also includes yoga, to enhance her flexibility and strength so she can look elegant and relaxed even when performing physically challenging moves.

“If I combine all of these aspects in my training, I think that makes me the best I can be.”

Fierce, fit and totally inspiring, Yolanda Burke is giving us some serious #fitnessgoals.


Discover more about The Lion King right now.