This Weeks Dancer/Choreographer shout out goes to Julia Harnett. Julia is a dynamic powerhouse who began dancing and acting at the age of four. Originally from Kelowna, British Columbia, Julia began taking her first dance steps in ballet (RAD), jazz, highland, contemporary, and hip hop. Julia was also involved heavily in the drama department of her high school as well as in the community, and appeared in performances such as West Side Story and The Nutcracker.
Upon her high school graduation, Julia travelled to Osaka, Japan to further her studies in ballet and choreography. Julia was also offered dance positions on both Disney Cruise Lines, and Carnival Cruise Lines. After six months of performing at sea, Julia pursued her studies at both Ryerson University, The University of Calgary, and the School of Alberta Ballet. Julia’s love for travel also allowed her to train extensively in New York, L.A., and Jackson, Mississippi.
Julia ventured into the world of ballroom dance five years ago, and has since been an avid competitor in the championship level Latin circuit. “Ballroom has taught me a deeper understanding of the connection between two individuals. The synchronization of body rhythms is something dancers of all styles could benefit from.”
Julia shares her love for dance by performing, teaching and choreographing at various studios and events throughout Canada, and hopes to inspire the next generation of dancers through her passionate approach to the arts.
Bio Provided by Julia
Find out what Julia had to say in this weeks shout out…..
Nikki:Do you remember the first time you started dancing?
Julia: I first started dancing at the age of four. I remember hating bodysuits and tights…So dull…however, at a very young age I was drawn to classical music…thinking back, it seems kind of strange…
Nikki: Do you remember the first song you choreographed to? (Or your earliest memory)
Julia: The first song I choreographed to was “Colors of the Wind” from Disney’s Pocahontas. I remember trying my hardest to interpret every single word in the lyrics. How ridiculous I must have looked in competition! Words like “can,” “with,” and “the,” all had their own movements… I’ve learned to laugh at myself.
Nikki: Your personal advice for dancers when it comes to free styling?
Julia: The most creative movements are usually made by mistake…so don’t be afraid to make mistakes… I try to envision myself in my living room at home, and the familiarity helps release all artistic inhibitions.
Nikki: Getting in the zone to choreograph, what does it take for you?
Julia: Big headphones and a huge music playlist, depending on the choreography, I also like to draw from various martial arts styles and nature for inspiration. However, if I’m really stuck, a glass of merlot usually helps too lol.
Nikki: Who are some of your biggest influences in the Dance industry?
Julia: I would have to say that Jean Marc Genereux has really encouraged me to reach my full potential in Latin. He coaches me part time, and I feel so blessed to be able to work with him.
Nikki: Being from British Columbia what made you decide to spend time in Toronto training and for how long did you live here?
Julia: I grew up as a ballet dancer in beautiful Kelowna BC. After graduating from high school, I was given the opportunity to train on full scholarship at a prestigious ballet school in Osaka, Japan. When I returned to Canada, I felt that if I wanted to further my dance career and become more versatile, I would have to relocate to either Vancouver or Toronto…Toronto won. I trained my butt off for several months as well as auditioned for numerous shows, art’s schools and cruise lines. I was offered dance contracts on both Disney and Carnival Cruise lines, as well as acceptance into Ryerson University’s dance program. I lived in Toronto for two years before my heart called me back to ballet. I ended up moving to Calgary to further my studies at the University of Calgary, and joined the Pre Professional ballet program at the School of Alberta Ballet…I found ballroom dance two years after that.
Nikki: Name a Toronto Choreographer you enjoy working with and why?
Julia: I’ve never met a Toronto choreographer that I didn’t enjoy working with…they are all amazing! Love Luther Brown though!
Nikki: Name one of your favorite artists to work with and why?
Julia: The ballroom world is a little bit different in the sense that we have our own dance celebrities. I have been fortunate enough to work with the legendary Maria Manusova in Brooklyn, New York. Maria is the type of artist that I strive to emulate. She was one of the most dynamic, captivating, and charismatic dancers I’ve ever seen. She was, and is dance purity. If you’ve never heard of these women, get on YouTube!
Nikki: What was it like being part of So You Think You Can Dance season 3??
Julia: SYTYCDC was truly a special highlight of my dance career. I was super proud of being the very first mom (my son Jaelen just turned 6!!!) on any SYTYCD stage to make it to the Top 22 finalists. From the producers, to the choreographers, to my fellow dancers, I will be forever grateful for their motivation and inspiration. This experience has brought me more opportunities than I could ever imagine, and has also exposed me to other elements of the entertainment industry that I have been actively pursuing!
Nikki: Are you currently working on any projects?
Julia: Yes! What a busy year it has been! The summer was filled with extensive training in NYC, performances, teaching workshops and summer schools in Calgary, as well as venturing into the world of TV and film. I’ve recently booked several TV commercials for CTV and Shaw TV, and am hoping to expand my entertainment career through my acting and vocal training. I will be dancing in an opera performance in Calgary in the next few days, as well as preparing for three upcoming ballroom competitions this fall. One of the main competitions is Jean Marc Genereux’s Rocky Mountain Dancesport Grand Prix. This event is not only a ballroom event, but also a dance convention as well. This year, Sean Cheesmen, and several other SYTYCD Canada alumni (including our latest winner, Jordan!) will be teaching! I’ m so proud to be a part of this amazing family.
Nikki: Qualities you think Toronto Dancers possess?
Julia: Toronto dancers are dreamers and realists at the same time! They follow their hearts; yet listen to their minds…
Toronto dancers are resilient…. not only do they bounce back from tough situations; they bounce back ten times stronger!
Nikki: Any advice for emerging dancers and choreographers working/training in Toronto?
Julia:Never lose your originality. Never stop learning. Learn how to take feedback without feeling defensive. Once you can do this, your artistry will elevate!
THANK YOU JULIA FOR SHARING YOUR LOVE WITH T.D.O.T. XO
CHECK OUT SOME FOOTAGE OF JULIA’S JOURNEY ON SYTYCDC…