Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Five Questions for Julie Petry, Choreographer

Julie Petry is the head of the dance program at Bloomsburg University and is choreographing for the 5th Annual Repertory/Ensemble Dance Minor Concert. We asked her five questions.

What first interested you in choreography?
By the time I could walk, I was whirling and spinning around the house. I loved making up dances to music I'd find in my mom's RECORD collection.  Yes--RECORDS.  I would put on Fame and Xanadu, (musical theatre blood runs in our family) and I'd sing and improv dance for hours. Eventually, I also began making up movement phrases and teaching them to my younger brother. He loved me then, and still loves me now, for dressing him up in silly costumes.

Where have you found your inspiration for the piece that you are creating this spring?
This spring I am re-mounting an older work, and creating a new one.  The older work is one that I first created in Chicago.  The title is Hatari, which translates to danger, risk and/or peril! What could be more inspiring than that to a risk taker?  My new work....I have yet to start working on, but am greatly inspired by the bold quality of the music, and bold women enrolled in my Repertory class! They are fearless!

What are the challenges to creating a new piece?
New works can have you staring up at the ceiling at night, tearing your hair out to figure out what should come next.  There is no road must pave every inch of it!  And....making it work on the artists who are dancing it adds another layer of difficulty....their bodies may not gel with your ideas.  You must remain adaptable the whole time.

Who is an artist you admire?
I admire so many artists, but particularly the ones who make me uncomfortable. DV8 Physical Theatre produces some of the most controversial, challenging, and complex work I've ever seen.  I also admire Kathy Najimy and Mo Gaffney...they are two actresses who paved their way by writing their own material much of the time. They are original thinkers who also aren't afraid of pissing people off!

If you were a fruit or vegetable, what would you be?
I am pretty sure I'd either be an onion or an avocado.  An onion because they are a jack-of-all trades (they work in many recipes) and they are quite complex in terms of layers.  An avocado?  Because my favorite color is green, and they are a super food.  They seem to last through unbearable conditions!

Julie Petry (Faculty Choreographer) hails from the beautiful Pacific Northwest and is in her 6th year of teaching at Bloomsburg University. She enjoys a varied theatrical background, has worked with Flamenco, Polish and Aerial Dance companies, in addition to directing and/or choreographing over 100 works to date. A few of her favorite career gigs involved traveling the country with Kenny Rogers, teaching Ellen Degeneres a dance step by telephone live on National TV, and receiving multiple Emmy nominations for her work in children's entertainment.

Photos: The current Repertory class rehearsing Hatari; Julie rehearsing a solo, 2008.

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