We are so excited to introduce Julia Erickson to the Dd Community. She is one half of the amazing duo behind Barre–and we will be introducing her other half later this week as well, lucky us;-)–in addition to being a principal dancer at PBT. She has taken great care in answering our survey, so enjoy!
1. ART: Performance or visual? What place does art have in your life?
Yes. Both. All of the above. Art plays a major role in my life. My mother is a visual artist (www.kathrynjhall.com), her mother was one as well, and so the practice of art has been fostered and encouraged in our family for generations. My partner Aaron is a filmmaker, and (whether or not he intends to be) the best comedian I know of. So art is all around me, especially when Aaron chooses to do silly dances around the living room.
Besides obviously loving to create and consume art through movement, I love finding the art in the ordinary or in seemingly non-artistic realms. There is art in food, conversation, in what one observes walking down the sidewalk or on the subway—in anything one is passionate enough about to delve into, explore and cultivate. Most recently for me this has been the art of negotiating a business deal or finessing the exact ratio of ingredients in a Barre prototype!
2. CRAFT: Knit or Crochet or Other? What is your craftiest project to date?
I like to make jewelry and sew. Oh and I like to knit too, but unfortunately my neck spasms sometimes when I knit, so I haven’t done it during our dancing season in a while…gotta attend to those muscles! And I also love to COOK of course—more on that below. I’m fairly crafty, but my sister Elizabeth (livinglifeloveliz.blogspot.com) is the craftier one of the two of us, so I often look to her for inspiration. If only we lived in the same state there would be many a crafting date lined up for us to share.
3. DESIGN: Classical or modern? What designer or architect inspires you the most?
I like embracing that everything is a reference to design which has already come—nothing is new and yet it all is, reimagined. My favorite cities visually are those in which sleek modern shapes are scattered amidst old, pillared monuments of yore, forming, in the aggregate, a kind of wide-lens visual historical timeline. This is especially notable in Pittsburgh, where the soot-stained limestone sits alongside ramshackle row houses to the one side and swooping glass to the other—documenting the city’s great rise, tough fall and inspired second coming. That visual fingerprint is pretty anthropologically fascinating.
This aesthetic holds true when it comes to my taste in design and fashion too. While I do sometimes wish I could live in an Anthropologie store (couldn’t you just curl up in one of those beds with a cup of tea?!), I generally like a mix of old and new, high and low.
4. FOOD: Salty or sweet? Do you know how to make your favorite dish? (If so, please tell us in a blog!)
The kitchen is a very therapeutic place for me. I remember a point in my life (actually, more than one point, for sure!) when dance and school were both very demanding and draining, and cooking our nightly meal became a marvelous, cathartic ritual. I felt like I could get into a kind of paradoxical state, during which I could be at once both completely creative yet almost absent minded. How fun! And, such a perfect foil to the attention demands we place on ourselves as dancers…that being said, don’t burn the soufflé or anything!
I love big bold flavors. I love salty AND sweet, preferably together or in alternating succession. An old wives’ tale I’ve heard hypothesized that one could keep eating unceasingly, simply by continually alternating sweet and salty!
5. THOUGHT: Fiction or Nonfiction? What form does the bulk of your own reading and/or writing take?
My one complaint about the business of recent life is my reduced reading time. I’m a non-fiction junkie: I love food writing, socio-political stuff, and economics, to name a few—although most of my all-time favorite books are novels. I’m also lucky that I have two encyclopedic references in the form of my Mom and self-styled poet Dad…to continue engendering my intellectual curiosity, fill in the gaps that are sometimes generated by staring into a mirror for eight hours a day, and keep that ever-growing book list a’comin’.
Lately in my own writing I’ve enjoyed exploring the contemporary themes we face as performing artists today, as dance becomes both more marginalized and more mainstream in various respects.
6. FUN: Where in the world do you want to go or be stranded? What five things would be in your bag?
South America and Asia…or pretty much wherever else I have not sufficiently traversed. I have a serious case of wanderlust which I am hoping to eventually pacify with lots of lengthy trips that’ll begin as soon as I don’t feel the daily pull to the ballet studio. I’m sad I never backpacked as a young adult, though I suppose there’s always a chance to do it later in life in some form or another! In my bag would be my iPhone (just being realistic, though I’m sure it counts as more than one item!), but if that is not an acceptable answer I would want some matches, a knife, a delicious book, my iPod (a compromise?), and plenty of Barres of course!