Artist Spotlight: A Postcard from Julia Erickson

From Top to Bottom:

  1. The Galata Bridge and New Mosque at night

  2. Spice Market / Julia & her partner Aaron in Istanbul

  3. View of the Bosporus Strait from Topkapi Palace

  4. Anadolu Kavagi Castle /Julia at the mouth of the Dead Sea

  5. Cruising up the Bosporus Strait

  6. One of Istanbul’s many cats / A Small Slice of the (truly) Grand Bazaar

  7. The Blue Mosque

  8. Canine Guide to Castle Overlooking Dead Sea / Fishermen
  on the Galata Bridge

  9. Julia Eating Baklava 

  10. Old Meets New in Istanbul!

  11. Waiting to Watch English National Ballet Rehearsal of 
  Swan Lake in the round / History of Fashion Exhibit, Victoria & 
  Albert Museum 

  12. Julia with Choreographer Derek Deane in London 


Fresh from a 5-day trip to Istanbul, a few days in London, plus a pit stop in Philly, PBT Principal Julia Erickson shares this postcard from her post-season travels. Between tourist stops, Julia managed to visit with family and stop by Royal Albert Hall to meet up with choreographer Derek Deane and check out English National Ballet rehearsals for his Swan Lake in the round. 


Destination Decision…
“Istanbul was our destination city really. We try to go to one new place if we can every year. That’s been on our list for a really long time, and we decided to make it happen. London we chose because – we’ve been there quite a few times actually – but it’s a great way to add in another city.  My cousin moved to London about five years ago, and we haven’t been there since he’s moved there, so I thought why not visit him and his wife, and reconnect with some friends.”

Sight Seeing Hotspots…
“We were (in Istanbul) for five full days, which is a nice bit of time. But really, this is one of those cities that has so much that you do need that amount of time. We saw the Hagia Sofia. It’s a beautiful old church that’s been converted into a mosque. It’s so representative of Istanbul and its kind of plurality and cross-cultural mix. We saw the Blue Mosque, the Topkapi Palace. We took a ferry ride up the Bosporus Strait, which is what separates Europe and Asia…Istanbul is interesting because it’s one city on two continents. We hiked up to a castle and looked out onto the Dead Sea, and had freshly-caught seafood overlooking the sea. It was really amazing.”

Favorite Flavors…
“It would be so hard to choose one thing! There were so many myriad options and flavors. It was a feast for the senses for sure. They have kind of the mezze, which is similar to what we had in Israel (on tour in 2012). But I would argue that it was more varied…all of those small appetizer dishes with great Mediterranean ingredients. It’s all so fresh too, a really interesting use of spices, a ton of seafood…”

Ballet Abroad:
While in London, Julia reconnected with choreographer Derek Deane, who has worked extensively with Julia at PBT over the years while setting several ballets on the company, including Alice in Wonderland and Anything Goes. He’s also become hooked on Julia’s creation, Barre: A Real Food Barre!

“ I love working with Derek (and watching him work, as I did in London) because he knows exactly what he wants the end product to be and tirelessly endeavors to help his dancers get there. He has an incredible ability to play back the rehearsal step by step as if it were a video recording in his mind, so his attention to detail in coaching and correcting is really lovely. I also love his creativity in using inspiration from the outside world in creating his ballets.” 

Swan Lake in the Round, English National Ballet
“… the production (of Swan Lake) is in the round, so there’s no front. It was really cool. It’s interesting, because as dancers we watch dance a lot from the sides. We watch rehearsal from the sides quite a bit. I’ve heard that it’s an incredible production. There are 50 swans, it’s just massive, and it’s in Royal Albert Hall, this huge great space. It just brings a new dimension to it. It’s a more inclusive interactive experience for the audience, I imagine. You can see the rest of the audience as well as the production.”

Ballet Break
“I try to take a real break at some point and just completely rest. I think the body needs that after a full season. (While abroad) I didn’t do much of anything except walk. We were walking a lot. When we were in Turkey we walked probably 5-7 miles a day. It was great, it was pretty extreme. Now, I’ve started dancing again. You have to be smart about how you pace it in the summer. You have to make sure your injuries are eradicated. That’s the plan.”

“I love traveling because I feel like it’s a great perspective giver. I just think that we’re all richer in our own identities when we can see the rest of the world and understand how other cultures are living and where other people are coming from. I just think it’s very enriching, so I want to do it as much as possible.”

International Inspiration…
“I think that you can find inspiration for art in anything, but the broader your worldview is, in my opinion, it will better your context when you’re doing something, working on a role….”

“I brought back some scarves, spices a lot of little snacks like Turkish delight, and I bought two pairs of earrings for myself on the street.”

Next on the Travel Wish List…
“Southeast Asia, maybe Vietnam or Malaysia or Indonesia…”


Post-Season Travels in Istanbul & London