Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s Julia Erickson on Her Farewell Announcement and Why the “Stage Is Like One Big Playground”

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Erickson as Odile. Photo by Rich Sofranko, Courtesy PBT.

By Steve Sucato

Elton John, Neil Diamond and the band Rush—2018 just got underway and it already feels like the year of the beloved star retiring. Joining that list today is one of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s longest tenured principal dancers, Julia Erickson. The 38-year-old Seattle native trained at the Pacific Northwest Ballet School and spent two years with Texas Ballet Theater before joining PBT in 2001. Starting in 2010, she was the co-owner of Barre, a line of nutrition bars for dancers, until the company’s hiatus in 2015. She was also the 2014 recipient of the BRAZZY Award for outstanding female dancer, chosen by Pittsburgh’s dance writers. The audience and critics’ favorite will close out her 17-year career with PBT in October. Pointe spoke with Erickson about her career and what’s next.

You appear to be at the top of your game, so why retire now?

I am not full-on retiring, just leaving PBT in the capacity I’m in. I plan to dance more. Guesting with [Santa Monica-based] Barak Ballet this summer was an eye-opening experience. I was able to discover that nowadays there are a lot more opportunities out there to dance that are not necessarily available to someone dancing under contract in a resident company.

So this is more of a career move?

I’ve had an amazing career at PBT dancing some amazing roles with a great group of artists. I feel so fortunate but I am at a juncture in my career where I feel I need to take a leap and see what else is out there. I want more, even if it is not in dance.

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This article appeared first on Pointe Magazine’s website on February 1, 2018. Copyright Steve Sucato.