Spotlight: Julie Niekrasz

Today is Ballet Memphis dancer Julie Niekrasz's birthday, so what better way to celebrate than do a spotlight on her! Julie's had a full summer so far. She’s been teaching Pilates and creative movement at Shelby Farms Nature Camp, living out one of Ballet Memphis’s visions of helping kids instill healthy habits early on. She’s also teaching in the Pilates Centre as well as in at the Ballet Memphis School summer intensive, where she has a group of students who’ve just started on pointe. She’s helping them through those first weeks of breaking in shoes, tying ribbons, and gaining foot and leg strength at the barre.  

And there’s more ahead: This fall Julie will choreograph her first piece for a Ballet Memphis season show with the new installment of River Project. She says she is “honored and flattered” to have this opportunity. Her segment will focus on St. Louis, Gateway to the West. She is doing research and seeing where it takes her, even looking at some letters of explorer William Clark right now. Choreographing for Ballet Memphis’s outreach programs has taught her as a dancer not to hold back with choreographers. As a choreographer you really need to see the steps to see if they work on other dancers – “you want someone who is willing to try anything.”  

Julie started out dancing modern, tap – which she still loves – and ballet, and began to focus solely on ballet at age 14. A perfectionist in the studio, Julie brings a warm humor and humility to all that she does. This August she will begin her 10th season with Ballet Memphis. The Ballet Memphis company is very special to her -- “it's such a talented and smart group that’s really like a family. I hope Memphis knows what a gem they have.”

Posted by Joan Biddle at 9:34 PM
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