My Body

Julie Ludwick on Hauling Your Own Stuff

Julie Ludwick is the founder and Artistic Director of Fly-by-Night Dance Theater, which specializes in a combination of Modern Dance and Aerial Dance. She also teaches low-flying trapeze, Modern Dance, Improvisation, and Skinner Releasing Technique.

I grew up with ballet, and I became a modern dancer in college. I also grew up in Alaska climbing trees. One of the people I worked with in college was doing a trapeze piece, and I danced in that, and it was just kind of an itch that kept bugging me after that. I think with a lot of people, once they start doing aerial work, they get sort of addicted for all kinds of different reasons. When you stop doing it, you just want to do it again. For me, it was kind of a feminist thing. The role of women in Alaska is like “Carry your own luggage.”  If you can’t haul your own stuff, you don't get to come. Using trapeze, you don't need a guy as your partner. Similarly, the man doesn’t need the woman. It’s an independence thing. 

For me as a choreographer, I just envision things in the air all the time. I still end up at the end of pieces and think, “I could just fly, right? This could happen..." But in my dancing it’s not always about flying; it’s about floating or being weightless or trying to lose the apparatus. It’s hard for me to do just floor dance at this point. It’s not as interesting. It’s unfortunate because it’s not really good for your career! There are lots of places you can't perform. 

Skinner Releasing is sort of a saving grace for me in the dance world. There can be really mean people in the dance world. “Mind your foot. You don’t know what you’re doing. You’re a terrible dancer.” So often, there's some mean teacher treating you like a movement moron. Skinner Releasing is an improvisational modern technique. It's meditative. The fact that you would lie down for part of the class and do an image thing, it became a way for me mentally to withstand the dance world and to deal with daily life and stress and living in New York. You're using images to move from, which also helps you create new and interesting movement in the trapeze. But it's also like yoga, the way people take it to be mindful and feel refreshed and let go. 

Julie Ludwick (Photo by Yi-Chun Wu)


This has Sassletic written all over it

vonhottie's picture

SRT has been on my list of things I want to take classes in....yes, vonhottie, I'd love all of this. I don't actually think I'd be good at trapeze though- I have a hard time doing things that involv gripping. This is going on "the list."

sassletics82's picture

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