Julia’s Story

When I was a young professional dancer, in my mid twenties, I was starting to be in a lot of pain. I was doing very challenging, very physical work everyday, all day and I was hurting . A lot. I thought I would have to quit and “get a real job”. I thought I would have to be done with dancing and worse, done with moving my body.
But then I was given some brilliant, generous and wondrous teachers. Teachers who showed me a different way to move; through alignment, breath, and spirit. At first I was ashamed and a little angry at the implication that I, a highly trained professional dancer, did not even know how to stand, sit, or walk. But then as the pain slipped away, I found pure delight in my true moving self, joy in a functional relationship to gravity and freedom with the full articulation of my spine. I was shown ways to create a mindset that accepts my body each day for its gifts and not to punish myself for its shortcomings. I am still dancing today. Pain free.

Since that first eye opening experience, I seek out and collect methods to expand this wondrous feeling of being in my body, being at the centre of my very self. I collect practical and poetic movement ideas and experiences that expand my universe.

In 2013, I founded Upward Spiral as a platform to share my learning and promote this wondrous feeling of being fully alive in your body.

Some of my Influential Teachers

I have been fortunate in my teachers.

Ann Tutt taught me the gift of the hands-on work of the Mitzvah Technique to create postural alignment, release muscle tension and create ease of movement. She helped me see the whole body as an integrated, highly functional being. She taught me to sit, stand and walk.

Dianne Miller gave me the gift of her perspective on the work of Joseph Pilates. She showed me how a well-designed physical movement regime can teach you to move with ease and confidence. She taught me the importance of neuroplasticity in movement learning. She taught me that my spine did not have to be rigid but could be malleable and intelligent.

Katherine Duncanson taught me how to breathe; How to enjoy breathing, to sing, and to reach into the unknown worlds around us.

Choreographer Serge Bennathan taught me that, “In order to stretch my foot, I had to stretch my mind”

My physiology professors taught me wonder of the intricate inner workings of the body and led to me understand how our scientific understanding is limited and constantly evolving.

My students have taught me that we all need love, support and encouragement to grow.

This is a short, edited list… I have received so many wonderful teachings from such incredibly smart, creative and generous people.

With these teachings, I have created my own understanding of the human body in motion and developed a structure to help others understand their own way to best live in their bodies.

In founding my company, Upward Spiral, I created a home for my work. I created
Moving IN a comprehensive, physical and cognitive program that is a framework for you to experience this wondrous body that you are.

Time Line of some of my life’s biggest events that shaped who I am today.

1968 Born in Toronto, Ontario
1974 moved to Cambridge Ontario
1978 finally got ballet lessons after years of begging
1982 Introduced to modern dance freaked out with happiness
1990 Summer, apprentice Banff festival Ballet Company, ruined my love of pointe shoes but I still love tutus
1991 graduated University of Waterloo, B.A. ( Hons) in Dance
1992-2006 company member of Dancemakers, touring world wide and performing full time for next 14 years, love the work so much I literally mangle my body to do it
1992 met Dianne Miller, guest teaching at Dancemakers, introduced to the Pilates Method, my spine learns to move and I don’t have to mangle myself quite so much anymore. Dianne visits Toronto each year and I continue my work with Dianne to the present day.
1994 met life partner John Gzowski
1997 choreographed Inner City Sirens Part Two, Dusk Dances
1998 Gemini Nomination for performance in The Rings of Saturn
1998 Crisis #1 my body is so messed up, in pain and tired that I think I need to quit dancing
1998 met Ann Tutt, introduced to the Mitzvah technique, I learned to sit, stand and walk and listen to my body. And so my dance career doesn’t end after all! I figure out what I need to do to love my body and move forward together.
2003 Founded Platform 33 Collective. Created new work with choreographers from Japan, Spain and Montreal
2004 single courses at U of T in biology, physiology and statistics
2004 -2007 Mitzvah Teacher training program with Ann Tutt
2005 my daughter is born
2007 graduated from York University, Bachelor of Education I start ignoring my body again, I stop practicing everything I know and start devoting myself to my family and my teaching career
2008-2012 Elementary School teacher at alternative school, BEN SchoolHouse
2012 I love my students and I love teaching but I had ignored my body for the last few years. I was tired, grumpy, in pain and kind of desperate. I started back into a daily practice of moving and paying attention to my body. I literally move back into myself and life keeps getting better and better
2012 self employed as artist, movement teacher (University of Toronto, SoulPepper and Centre for Indigineous Theatre) and private practice in Mitzvah Technique
2013-2015 Premiere four new full length performance works
2014 Audience Choice award ( Dusk Dances) for Inner City Sirens part two
2015 Neurosculpting courses, changed my understanding of my brain forever
2016 Pilates teacher training program with Dianne Miller, life gets even better
2017 Artists Residency at LIVE Lab McMaster University exploring the mind/body connection with Double Pendulum Collective
2017 development of Moving IN program
2018 Upward Sprial is going onward and upward...!