Julie Friedrich

Interview Highlights
Q: How did your mentorship program start? 
This goes back to the knee injury. When I tore my ACL...maybe four months before, my teacher passed away, so all her students needed the teacher. So I would teach her students in a chair without really moving. At that time, I was working with a young Peruvian girl who wanted to audition for the Juilliard School. I told her at 22 I’d mentor her — I had no idea what I was doing. She is the first Peruvian American accepted to Juilliard. I slowly started taking on students and mentoring them. I had a knack for guiding people and students to a better place, much better than I did myself. When I taught at Orange County High School of the Arts, I wanted to create a mentorship program for seniors to help with college. It’s not the same to apply academically for college — it's different for dance. 

Q: How have students been reacting to virtual class?
The second week, when it set in, you’d see so many blank stares and blank faces from the students… I think my kids and students are emotionally stunted. Sitting behind a screen and trying to understand what is going on in the world around them, they become emotionally distant. I think moving forward, this will be a huge issue when we come back to being together in life. 

Q: What does your daily routine look like?
I wake up very early — I have two young children. I always have my espresso. I watch the news in hopes that something is found, like a vaccine. Every morning so far it hasn’t been found, but one morning it will. Immediately I get things ready in the house, I get myself ready. Then almost everyday, like Monday through Friday and Sunday, I go into the studio. I give myself a barre first and then I start teaching, then I come home. I clean, I cook, I do people's homework. I am a teacher, mom, maid, chef, and gardener, and the jobs do not end.
Read full interview here

Julie Friedrich’s distinguished career as a professional dancer, mentor, and dance educator in the areas of ballet and contemporary dance spans more than 18 years since she joined her first professional company at the age of 17. Julie received her primary dance education from the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts and Meredith Baylis of the Joffrey Ballet School. Upon graduation, Julie joined the American Repertory Ballet under the direction of Septime Webre, and then went onto join Les Grands Ballets Canadiens in Montreal under the direction of Lawrence Rhodes. Discovering her passion for contemporary dance during her time with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, she made the move to Europe where she danced professionally for the following five years. She has danced works by George Balanchine, Anthony Tudor, Ohad Naharin, Septime Webre, Nacho Duato, Guy Weizman, Alex Ketley, and various other European choreographers. Upon returning to the Unites States Julie joined the acclaimed contemporary dance company BodyTraffic as one of its founding members. Currently Julie teaches, choreographs and mentors students across the country. She teaches full time at the Windward School in Culver City under the direction of Alesia Young, and tours the country with Francisco Gella as part of his artistic team of dance educators. Previously, Julie taught for over a decade at both the Orange County High School for the Arts and the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. During her time at both schools, along with teaching ballet and contemporary, she was the lead senior seminar advisor to all of the graduating dance students going onto the professional and collegiate world of dance. Through her guidance, Julie has had numerous Young Arts winners and her students have gone on to study at Juilliard, USC/Kaufman, SUNY Purchase, Dominican University and the Boston Conservatory just to name a few. Professionally, she has former students working in such companies as ATE9, Kyle Abraham, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, and on Broadway. In 2013, President Obama and the White House named Julie one of the most influential arts teachers in the country for her mentorship of young dancers.