Julia Crockett: Back in Town to Teach Movement Workshop

Julia Crockett: Back in Town to Teach Movement Workshop

Julia Crockett

Julia Crockett

What happens in Telluride does not stay in Telluride – and that is a good thing. And a natural thing, the way of the world, if the subject is the young people who grow up in the region and are shaped by this rich, decidedly quirky environment. One of them is Julia Crockett, daughter of Andrea Knorr and Mike Crockett (deceased). The work Julia is doing today can be traced directly to her theatrical “career” in town, where she became a local star.

Julia Crockett’s history, relatively speaking, a straight line:

Julia studied theatre arts under the direction of Jen Julia of the Sheridan Arts Foundation ever popular Young People’s Theatre Company, ultimately playing Sandy in “Grease.” She was an active member of the Telluride Choral Society and studied ballet with Shirley Fortenberry.  Julia learned about the ancient healing art of jin shin jyustu from Elizabeth Plamondon Cutler, a discipline that informed her work as a teacher of somatic technique.

But most of all, Julia was a Mudd Butt, which meant as a young girl she took part in the Telluride Academy’s four-week theater intensive covering all aspects of what it takes to make a play happen. Through the Mudd Butts, kids aged 10 – 14 get to explore theater games, script and songwriting, improvisation, dance, voice, even marketing. But that’s only what’s described in the Academy’s brochure. Read between the lines and it becomes clear young people fortunate enough to participate in the program wind up acquiring invaluable and indelible life tools. They get to meet their inner artist while developing confidence and discovering ways to laugh at themselves and navigate the mine field of group dynamics. Through the Mudd Butts experience, kids travel from a local address on to the world stage – literally. Mudd Butts International took Julia to Cat Island, the Bahamas, to mount a play with local kids.

“Without a doubt my overall creative formation took place in the vibrant art community of Telluride, where I was given many opportunities to be on stage and otherwise indulge my desire to perform and create. And what was especially nice about all that was the fact those experiences weren’t all standard ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ and ‘Chorus Line’ stuff by which I mean just very traditional theater. I was exposed to lot of ‘alternative’ weird stuff, and so grew up with a broader understanding of what performance could be and that proved to be absolutely invaluable. When I teach at NYU, the big block my students and I have to break through is their lack of understanding about just how broad the concept of ‘performance’ actually is.” 

Following graduation, Julia Crockett left the security of  our box canyon to attend New York University in Manhattan, New York.

“That actually wasn’t as big of a culture shock as everyone anticipated it would be because Telluride may be a small town, but it has a cosmopolitan vibe. Looking back, I know growing up I received a wide, strong base of knowledge and culture that is rare for a kid to be exposed to, not just in a small town, but anywhere in the world. I think about all my gifted teachers, the Mudd Butts and the endlessly talented Sally Davis and Kim Epifano who still run the show, all the time. That program definitely planted the seed that led to me doing experimental theater and creating my own work.”

Julia’s work in brief:

A graduate of New York University’s prestigious Gallatin School of Individualized Study, Julia Crockett now teaches her own adaptation of the Williamson Technique – a movement technique for actors that focuses on freeing the body so that he/she can more freely and effortlessly process experiences into vivid, compelling behavior –  at Tisch School of the Arts, NYU, in the drama department, and also at the Maggie Flanigan Studio, where she studied the Meisner technique and received her initial training in the Williamson Technique.

Julia Crockett also formed her own movement collective, where she could create her own work and, in effect, her own genre, best defined by what it is not. Not quite dance. Not quite theatre either. Not even performance art. More of a hybrid of the three overlaid with an interest in film.

“I prefer to show my work in galleries, rather than theaters. But a lot has carried over from my acting training, most importantly my interest in a performer’s internal (emotional) life. In this odd way, the road laid out before me –my fascination with the body, with feelings, with image, with gender, sexuality, character, aesthetic, with expansive experience – comes together in my life as a performing artist. I host weekly (at least we try to do our events weekly) workshops, or what we call “jams.” These workshops, as well as my teaching in general, are an integral part of my artistic life. Teaching is part of my performance.”

Aquila1-1Julia’s upcoming Telluride workshop:

Julia’s upcoming workshop in Telluride takes place Wednesday, August 28, noon – 4 p.m. at the Ah Haa School for the Arts. The big idea is to teach beginning movers, specifically women in (almost) advanced years, (read primarily over 50), to use their bodies as creative, emotional instruments.

Drawing from the techniques of Loyd Williamson, Rudolph Laban, Steve Paxton, Michael Chekov, Ximena Garnica, and her own work, Julia will guide the group through an exploration of physical improvisation, group collaboration, and basic composition work (“making stuff!”). No prior dance or performance experience is necessary. The objective is to help participants expand their understanding of the ways their bodies can speak, how they can convey meaning using abstract images, rather than words or a linear story, and practice being open and vulnerable in simple contact with another individual.

The workshop is designed as a “research” project for Julia, whose own objective is to explore the possibility of a choreographed piece staged in New York with similar/same participants.

“My motivation to conduct a workshop in Telluride was, I admit, selfish: research for a distant, but still upcoming show featuring mature women. The idea was sparked by my own feelings of growing up/getting older and a conversation with my friend about how we should celebrate older women, rather than fear aging. Specifically in a culture that prizes youth above all, even more specifically, young bodies, I think it is a necessity to establish a discourse praising older bodies. We will be filming the workshop and using the footage for research as well as grant and residency applications.

The workshop also represents Julia’s desire to make the work she does accessible to a broader demographic, not just actors, young artists, dancers, and performers.

“I constantly wonder how this work, so incredibly meaningful to me, can be brought to those who want to bring attention, mobility, and expression into their bodies no matter who they are, where they are – or how old they are.”

For a preview of Julia Crockett’s work, watch this video.

In the Studio with Julia Crockett from Julia Crockett on Vimeo.

And then check out this website:  www.maggieflaniganstudio.com

For more information, contact Julia at julia@maggieflaniganstudio.com


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