We asked Julia her a handful of questions to help you get to know her better:
What is your major/minor at St. Olaf? What made you choose a school so far from home?
I am a senior Dance & Psychology double major at St. Olaf. I really enjoy the combination of these areas because they are both fields that concern the physical, mental, emotional, and even spiritual aspects of living as human beings. I am originally from outside of Boston, MA, but my father used to work at Carleton across the river from St. Olaf so he encouraged me to look into midwestern schools. When I visited St. Olaf I remember visiting a dance class, and, (I’m sure they were told I was coming to observe,) when I came one of the then-juniors opened the door and welcomed me by name! I was so surprised!! The professor was not there that day, but they carried on with class as usual reviewing their combinations and I was so impressed that they were so dedicated to carry on and lead themselves in class without the professor there. It felt like a community I could really fit into.
How long have you been dancing and what do you hope to do after graduation?
I started dancing when I was 5. The small studio I went to prior to coming to St. Olaf only offered Ballet. After graduation I hope to take workshops and audition for whatever performing projects I can! I don’t want to give up performing yet, but I know I need to keep building my dance skills technically. At the moment I am thinking about a masters in Dance Therapy or an MFA in Dance so that I might be able to teach at a university. Those are my two passions, teaching and therapy. Maybe I’ll even find a way to roll them together in a career!
What is your favorite style of dance?
At college, I have really enjoyed getting to know Modern dance. Unlike any other form I’ve tried, it demands the attention of the whole self: body, mind, breath, emotion, spirit.
Where is the coolest place you have ever performed?
In high school I was in a performing ensemble for my studio and we performed in many nursing homes. Often times the stage or dancing space was SO SMALL. It was always a fun challenge to orient a dance in a new space.
My sophomore year in college I was in an improvisation ensemble and we performed a Earth Day improvisation that traveled all the way across the St. Olaf campus and ended by rolling down Old Main Hill!
What is one thing you were taught and will always remember?
“I AM BODY”… I don’t “have a body”. Anything you “have” you can “not have” and you can’t “not have” a body. My body is as much a part of me as any personality trait. The manner in which I walk with the legs and feet and body that God has given only to me is as much a unique indication of who I am as a skills in organization, a love of crafting, loyalty to my friends, etc…
What inspires you?
The kindness of interactions between people and the knowledge that we are all part of one big community with this planet inspires me. In the warmer months I try to walk barefoot wherever I can. I feel more alive when the sun is shining right into my heart and I feel my feet sink into the forgiving dirt and grass. To this point, I highly recommend a book by David Abrams called “Becoming Animal; An Earthly Cosmology”.
I really enjoy crafting for no particular purpose. Give me yarn, colorful paper, sharpies, and some glue and I’ll be busy all afternoon! I also love making dinner with my friends! (Julia also works at the American Girl store back in MA when she’s not at college!)
Have you created a pre-performance regiment/routine or a tip you’d like to share?
Deep breaths do wonders. I also like to pat all over my palms, arms, and where they connect across my collar bone and shoulder blades. Maybe its weird, but I think it makes me feel ready to welcome the audience into my experience of the dance.
At St. Olaf, seniors are required to choreograph and present a Dance Capstone project; here is the link to Julia’s piece performed last month at the show called, “What Words Can/Not” (it is the first piece in the performance). http://www.stolaf.edu/multimedia/play/?e=1023