3 Sep

This week’s Dancer/Choreographer shout out goes to Julia Cratchley. Julia is originally from Richmond Hill, Ont. where she danced with Vlad’s Dance Company, and graduated from Unionville High School’s Arts York Dance Program.

Julia continued her training as a contemporary and classical artist in Vancouver, B.C, with Arts Umbrella’s Graduate Program under the direction of Artemis Gordon and Lynn Sheppard. Here she had the opportunity to work with internationally known choreographers, including Roberto Campanella, Emily Molnar, Serge Bennethon, and Robert Glumbek to name a few. She also had the chance to workshop with companies and choreographers such as [Bjm_danse] and O’vertigo in montreal, Ballet B.C in Vancouver, ProArteDanza in Toronto, Jill Johnston and Sidra Bell in New York as well as companies in Europe.

Julia has been lucky enough to be a part of Toronto dance company Helix Dance Project for three seasons now, and has assisted Linda Garneau with the process of ‘Rain’ ‘Verb.atim’ and ‘UnEarth’. She is a dancer and choreographer for Bridge to Artists which has now had three shows to date ‘Prima Volta’ ‘Senses’ and ‘On the Sawdust Trail’. She is most recently a company member of a Rutherford Movement Exchange’s Asension. Julia is a freelance dancer/choreographer and adjudicator and participates in many shows throughout the year. Julia Also teaches an open class at OIP dance centre in Toronto.

Bio provided by Julia


 twitter: @jcratchley

  youtube: Danzerj

Find out what Julia had to say in this week’s shout out…

Nikki: Do you remember the first time you started dancing?

Julia: I began dancing when I was 2 1/2 so i don’t remember starting to dance, but i do have memories from a young age of being very excited going to ballet class!

Nikki: Do you remember the first song you choreographed to? (Or your earliest memory)

Julia: I would choreograph dances all the time in my bedroom when i was very young, probably starting at 5 or 6. As much as i don’t remember my first song, i can tell you it was definitely played off of my fisher price tape player. I can also tell you when i was young I believed myself to be incredibly innovative combining both ballet and jazz into the same dance. Later i came to realize this was basically something called lyrical… and someone had already figure that out. If only i had been born earlier…

Nikki: Your personal advice for dancers when it comes to free styling?

Julia: The best thing i was ever told about improvisation is ‘there is no wrong!’ I think when you remember this, you stop judging yourself, and thats when you can begin to explore. Then of course to constantly explore more! When you think you have done every movement your body possibly knows, be still for a moment, re-evaluate, look at it from a different angle, then continue.

Nikki: Getting in the zone to choreograph, what does it take for you?

Julia: When you have beautifully talented supportive dancers around, i think you can do no wrong. I often think about ideas for pieces when my mind is relaxed. Whether on a bike ride, driving or at the gym, usually thats where an idea will pop into my head. Then its just getting into a clear space with some great music and playing around with movement.

Nikki: Who are some of your biggest influences in the Dance industry?

Julia: I think influences in this industry can always change. Some filter in and out, some stick and sometimes you learn or work with someone that brings you great inspiration at that time, right when you need it. One huge influence in my dance life has been Crystal Pite (Kidd Pivot). I have loved every piece i have ever seen of hers. She is brilliant on so many levels, and her work is so complex, yet so relatable to any audience which is think is an incredible talent to possess. I have had other people along the way who have been big influences to me, and are a huge reason to why i am where i am. Peter Chu, Emily Molnar, Arty Gordon, Vlad, Linda Garneau- All of these people have either been huge mentors in my dance life, taught me whats its like to love dance and show it, or all of the above. I wouldn’t be here without them. 

Nikki: Name a Toronto Choreographer you enjoy working with and why?

Julia: Linda Garneau hands down! I have been lucky enough to work with this brilliant woman for years now, and working with her just gets better and better! I do think its rare to find someone who’s movement fits you so well, and so does their mind. Linda and I creatively are always on the same wave length and its truly incredible to be able to dance for someone like that. As much as i feel I always know her next step, she then always finds a way to stump me and push me to a new limit. What else can you ask for as a dancer?

Nikki: Name one of your favorite artists to work with and why? (It does not have to be a pop star any type of artist that a Dancer would work with i.e.; another Dancer, Choreographer, Musician etc.)

Julia: This one is very hard for me. I have so many artists in my life which are truly incredible to work with and inspire me in so many ways. I’m going to say Peter Chu, he reminds me constantly what this life of an artist is always about. Even though i don’t work with him or see him nearly as often as i would like, any time I do he reminds me why i do this. His work, and how he teaches makes me remember why we put the endless hours in. I think you need people like this in your life. 

Nikki: Are you currently working on any projects?

Julia: Currently i’m working on two shows which i’m dancing in. The first one is actually in the Domincan Republic with a choreographer Derrick Yanford from New York. We are performing with his company down there Sept 22nd and 23rd. The Second show is with Rutherford Movement Exchange under the direction of Stephanie Rutherford. The show ‘Ascension’ is being performed Sept 29th and 30th at the Al green theatre.

Nikki: Qualities you believe Toronto Dancers possess?

Julia: I believe internationally Toronto dancers are always known to be a little quieter then others, but also incredibly fierce! Any time I’m in another place they always say how all the toronto dancers they know are so amazing! I think we work hard, train hard, and we know how to push when needed and that gives us an edge. 

Nikki: Any advice for emerging dancers and choreographers working/training in Toronto?

Julia: My best advice is to never give up! I’m a strong believer that if you really want something, and are determined enough, you WILL get it. There will be many people in this industry who will shut you down, and tell you that you can’t do it. There will also be plenty of people that will believe in you. Focus on the good, and let the negativity fuel you to prove the non-believers wrong.


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