Interview: Artistic Director Julianna Slager

The inside scoop - this time from Artistic Director Julianna Slager.

Q: What do you enjoy most about working with the artists in the company?

A: I love finding movement that fits the unique style of each dancer. So many times you have dancers who are passionate and beautiful, but have no idea how much they can really do. The casting process, the development of new roles, the collaboration of choreographer and artist is something that excites me again and again throughout the season.

Q: What inspires you?

A: I am inspired by the exchange of ideas. I love to dialogue, to communicate and to dream. Whether I am responding to ideas within the grand scope of the dance community, or dialoging with my own fears or dreams, I find it fascinating to explore, to ask questions, to know others and to be known. Art is an amazing forum for ideas, especially those that cannot be expressed concretely. For me, dance gives a voice to silence and a form to the deep consciousness in a person. This is especially meaningful in the context of my faith, and the depth of conviction to which I aspire. 

Q: What is the hardest part of your job?

A: The amount of work and lack of time! I have so many ideas I can overwhelm myself quite easily with 1,000 half-done inspirations. It can be a challenge to really focus my energy and bring the vague feelings of my artistic brain and mind into the real world. 

Q: Who is your greatest role model? 

A: I have so many wonderful role models. Former teachers, my parents, historical figures. The two that stand out are George Mueller and George Balanchine. George Balanchine of course was such a pioneer and risk-taker. I love the contrast in his body of work, and the tenacious spirit he possessed. He opened up this art form in ways that no one else did, and without his contributions, it's hard to say where ballet would be today. In contrast, George Mueller's faith is something that deeply inspires me. His total abandonment to the Lord, and his disregard for earthly accomplishment and wealth show such a humility and strength of character. I want to have that kind of ingenuity in my work, and that depth of trust in the Lord.