When she was younger, Julia Flete wasn’t convinced that she liked to dance. She wanted to become a veterinarian one day — and what did dancing have to do with animals? Dance lessons meant waking up early and having less time to hang out with friends.
Fast forward to this year, Julia’s second year at SA HSLA. She just completed a 14-week dance workshop at NYU Tisch, one of the most competitive dance schools in the country. In addition to her weekly classes after school and her advanced conservatory dance elective during the day, Julia spent every Saturday in the spring practicing with current Tisch college students and some of the country’s most promising high school dancers. She and the other participants even choreographed their own original performance!
We spent some time with Julia talking about the unique Tisch experience, hearing about what dancing has come to mean to her, and discussing the sacrifices it involves — and whether they’re worth it.
How did you become an NYU Tisch Future Artist?
My dance teacher, Ms. Fastow, forwarded me the application and told me she thought it would be a great program for me to check out. I filled out the application and was invited to audition — I’m only 14, so I was one of the youngest trying out! Even though the program focuses on contemporary dance, the audition involved a lot of ballet, which is my area of expertise. I was excited when I found out that I’d been selected — and so was Ms. Fastow!
What did you find most interesting about dancing in a new setting?
It was really cool seeing what it is like to be a dancer in college. We worked a lot with current Tisch performers, which was a great learning experience from a dancing perspective but also gave me a chance to talk to them about life as a college dancer. They have a lot of different stages to practice and perform on, which is exciting, and it was pretty clear that they are serious about making every performance count. They all seemed so happy to be there, so it was really inspiring. I’m even more convinced that I’d like to pursue dancing in college — even though my mom still wants me to be a veterinarian!
What has been the most difficult challenge you’ve faced as a young dancer?
I have classes outside of school every week, so I have to balance homework with a pretty intense training schedule. Sometimes I wish I could procrastinate, but I just can’t if I want to keep my grades strong and my dancing stronger. The Tisch program was especially challenging because I would dance for hours on Friday night and then get up early every Saturday for the workshop. I also take dance electives in school, so dancing is just something that I’m always doing. Sometimes I regret missing the chance to just hang out with friends, but over the years, I’ve come to realize how much I appreciate dancing and the discipline it takes — it’s rewarding to see the hard work pay off, but it’s also become more and more fun.
What was the best thing about your Future Artist experience?
Dance is usually very competitive. There’s not a lot of chances to work together with other dancers, so that’s what I liked the best — this program was very collaborative. We all choreographed performances in teams, which meant figuring out ways to bring our different ideas and skills together. The final performance went really well. We were all presented with a rose and a certificate!
Cover Photo: Julia Flete, in red, at the award ceremony after completing the NYU Tisch Future Artist program
Above: Julia in the dance studio at SA HSLA