Julie started ballet at age 4 and immediately fell in love with it. Throughout her childhood, she studied with various dancers from the Pennsylvania Ballet. At age 13, she was selected to be a child guest performer in the Pennsylvania Ballet's production of Hansel and Gretel. Standing in the wings surrounded by professional ballerinas, Julie knew ballet would always remain one of her true loves. Throughout school, Julie was a featured dancer in musical productions and even had the privilege of being one of the choreographers for their production of "Once On This Island." Though she stopped her formal training early, Julie kept dancing whenever she could. Now, having returned to formal training at Shockra Studio, she is thrilled to be nurturing her body, soul and mind with the beauty and joy of dance! Julie says, "It was so great to find in Shockra Studios a studio that matched my philosophy of teaching and of dance - that attending a dance class should be a non-intimidating, fun form of exercise and self-expression. Nothing makes my body feel better than moving it in the beautiful, graceful way that only ballet allows. Everyone, regardless of their shape or size or ability, deserves access to that kind of joy.
Julie's Ballet Classes.
More info on Ballet Dance.
*Private Lessons Available*
What is the most important thing about ballet dance?
In terms of technique, I would have to say the 2 most important things are lift/posture and turnout. I work hard to help my students come to a body awareness where they are able to stop "sinking into their hips" and pull up the body while dancing. But in terms of the dancing itself, I think the most important thing about ballet dancing is to think of your body as a conduit of energy. Your center/torso is the energy core, and the movements of the body, especially through arms and legs, and even the head, are passageways the energy travels through as it leaves your toes and fingertips and scalp. The secret of ballet dancing is keeping the energy core at your center while allowing the dancing energy to flow through the body to create the beautiful dance of ballet.
Why should someone take my class ?
I am committed to a class environment that is intimidation-free, friendly, and welcoming. Especially considering that ballet can be seen as the most "inaccessible" or "elitist" of dance forms, I help break down ballet movement in terminology and vocabulary that draws from everyday experience so that students feel that ballet is quite accessible and, in fact, lots of fun. I also try to offer my most authentic self in the classroom: I take the dance form seriously, not myself. Being this way: casual in approach, but true and honest to the dance form, is what I've been told over and over again is one of my greatest strengths.
How do I keep discouraged students motivated?
I change the momentum of the class and bring it back to what the students are stronger in. If a student is feeling discouraged about not being able to keep her knee straight while executing a tendu, but I notice she is aware and can correct herself, I applaud that, and move onto the next exercise which breaks a student out of the "fog" of frustration. Nothing feels worse than being forced to try something over and over again which you have difficulty with. More often than not, when moving onto something else and away from the frustration of a certain exercise, the next time the student returns to that exercise, s/he is able to do it better.
What is my personal goal/focus in the class?
It depends on the type of class. In the 6-week semi-private workshops, my focus is on building a solid foundation of ballet technique, offering individual instruction, and teaching simple choreography. In the drop-in class, I focus on keeping the material fresh each week, and aim for an overall pleasant "group" experience.
What is class like every week?
Lighthearted and fun, with the expectation that you get out of it what you put into it. Ballet is probably one of the "weirdest" new experiences your body can have, and as much as a student is willing to experiment with new sensations and muscles in her body, she will learn/improve at that rate. Honestly there is nothing more rewarding than seeing students have that "a-ha" moment when they realize they can do something new with their body, and I get so excited that the neighbors can probably hear me! Class with me is both silly and serious. I am silly, the dancing is serious.
How do you approach 6-week series and what will people gain by the end?
I approach them like a cumulative semi-private 6-week course. I see each workshop as a new family that is forming; indeed, many of the students from my 6-week workshops have gone on to stick together as they register for continuing workshops. I love teaching in the semi-private environment; I can give students individual attention and really watch them grow. What people gain by the end is a solid foundation in ballet technique, a comfortable relationship with me and their fellow students, and a command of basic ballet movements. And the kicker for me as a teacher is that I have a full 6 weeks to teach some real choreography, so that by the end, students have learned a little dance. That is something super fun that you don't get in a drop-in class.
People are saying...
“I've been coming to Julie's adult ballet classes for over a year now. I love this place! And I love Julie. She's patient and always has some wonderful bit of wisdom to share with the class. This studio is different than every other studio I've tried in Manhattan, where the adult ballet classes feel full of experienced students. Shockra is totally unintimidating and the classes feel more like a very healthy get-together with a bunch of friends. Thanks Julie (and Shockra)!!”
"Julie was very well prepared for class where she had compiled a complete, flowing and well thought out program. She exhibited much patience for those of us who need extra help and gave some excellent fundamental pointers. I give Julie two thumbs up!"
"I found the method of teaching to be engaging, thoughtful and lots of fun! Julie was able to relate to all of us in the class on an individual level and give guidance in a meaningful way. Not only were classes most enjoyable but at the conclusion of classes I felt like I had achieved something."
“I have been taking Beginner and Advanced Beginner Ballet at SHOCKra with Julie for about a year now. Julie has created an intimidation free environment that allows you to learn ballet techniques and have fun without feeling self conscience. The class sizes allow Julie to give students individual attention and she makes sure that you get the work out you came for. I would recommend these classes to anyone who wanted to learn ballet and have fun in a comfortable setting!