The IBA Director of Career & College Guidance selected the student featured in the Student Spotlight this month, and she also interviewed him.
IBA: Congratulations, Julian, on being featured in IBA's Student Spotlight for April. How long have you been dancing, and did you dance before coming to IBA?
JF: I have been a ballet dancer for just over three years now; however, my journey as a dancer really began in musical theatre and jazz at the age of 14.
IBA: You were chosen for “starting ballet late and sticking with it”. What are some the challenges you have faced as a male at a mostly female studio, and also, as a relatively late starter? Also, how have worked to overcome these challenges?
JF: Frankly, I have not found any real “challenges” as a man in a female dominated art. I have always been very secure in my masculinity, so spending most of my time around women has never been a problem for me. Additionally, growing up with sisters, I never have had any trouble connecting with women around me, so I’ve learned to embrace my female company.
As for starting later than most, time is of the essence. Much like any other goal in life, success depends majorly on how much you put into your craft. Cherish and respect every minute you have in studio; there’s no time to slack. “Vision without execution is hallucination,” so be sure you’re putting everything you’ve got into every moment both inside and outside of class.
IBA: What have been your best moments as a dancer?
JF: As a dancer, I have been blessed with many once-in-a-lifetime opportunities such as performing on stages that famous ballet dancers have, and in some cases, with them. Even so, I can tell you with the utmost confidence, nothing beats sharing my passion with those ordinarily unable to afford or attend such high budget, professional ballets. As a low-income individual, giving back to the community through IBA’s various outreach performances is, sincerely, my proudest achievement as a dancer.
IBA: Who are the biggest influences in your life?
JF: To be perfectly honest, all the good people in my life are influences in my eyes. Every one of my IBA family, though they may not know it, is a powerful influence and inspiration to me in some way, whether it be dance or some other aspect in life.
IBA: How has IBA shaped you as a performer?
JF: IBA’s vehement focus on raw technique has built powerful and exemplary dancers. It doesn’t matter how many turns you can execute. If the technique isn’t there, they’re all for not. It can feel arduous sometimes, but it’s a very necessary step in succeeding as a dancer.
IBA: What is your favorite ballet, and, if you could, what role would you dance in it?
JF: Yes, it’s cliché, but I have to say Don Quixote. The traditional Spanish style is my favorite, and if I were to ever be so lucky, Basilio would be my top pick to perform.
IBA: What motivates you, Julian? What do you see as your biggest strength and your biggest weakness?
JF: Being the best version of myself is my overall life goal. Not money, not cars, (well maybe motorcycles), but mainly maxing out my potential as an individual, no matter what I am doing.
My biggest strength? If I want to accomplish something, I’m going all in. I don’t believe in procrastination, I don’t believe in giving up. I recognize that failure is not an option, rather it’s a requirement. Learn from your mistakes and get back up on that horse.
I think my greatest weakness is that I tend to be a little hard on myself, whether it be dance, or something else in my life. Sometimes you just need to take a step back, breathe, and slow things down a bit.
IBA: Just for fun, complete this sentence. "Ballet would be better without _____________."
JF: Tights. Need I say more?
IBA: What advice do you have for younger ballet students, particularly the boys?
JF: Well, boys, as you may have already noticed, as a male dancer, some people are going to have some “less than nice” things to say about it. At the end of the day, the important thing to remember is if you’ve got a passion for something, do it. People will always discriminate against those confident enough to do something different. Life is short – do what makes you happy. Remember, the lion does not concern himself with what the antelope thinks of him. Dance on, gentlemen.
IBA: Finally, Julian, do you have any goals or plans for the future that you want to share with us?
JF: I will be attending the University of South Carolina’s Business program, as well as completing my med school pre-requisites, either as electives, or through pre-med.
IBA: Thank you, Julian. Congratulations for being chosen for our Student Spotlight and best of luck to you in college!