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Category: University news

Falmouth University is delighted to announce that Julie Felix, acclaimed former ballerina with the Dance Theatre of Harlem, will be conferred as an Honorary Fellow next month. 

Throughout her professional life, Julie overcame racism and discrimination to build a career that saw her perform at the top of the industry and across the globe. 

As a young dancer at the Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance, Julie was exceptional. In her final year, despite being selected to dance in Rudolf Nureyev’s production of Sleeping Beauty with the London Festival Ballet (later English National Ballet), she was denied a professional contract and was told that having a black girl in the corps de ballet would look out of place. 

Determined not to give up, Julie seized an opportunity with the New York-based Dance Theatre of Harlem, a move which launched a stellar career during which she performed for Michael Jackson, Prince, Ronald Reagan, Sydney Poitier, Luciano Pavarotti, and with Lionel Ritchie at the closing ceremony of the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984.  

Upon her return to the UK, Julie became a company teacher and remedial coach to Sadlers Wells Royal Ballet (now the Birmingham Royal Ballet). She has also been a guest teacher with Wayne McGregor and Matthew Bourne’s companies and has lectured at the English National Ballet School,  Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance and Kings International Academy. 

Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, Professor Emma Hunt said: "Julie is not only a world-class dancer, but she is also an inspirational individual, who has overcome racism and bigotry to build a remarkable career and blaze a path for those behind her. 

“Julie is already working with our students, and they are benefitting from her expertise and incredible experience. However, her story is also a wonderful example of what can be achieved with courage and determination. We are thrilled to welcome her to Falmouth and to our creative community.”   

I am passionate about widening access to dance and performance and I am inspired by the energy and talent among the students and faculty at Falmouth.

Now based in Cornwall, Julie has a strong connection with the county, where her family used to holiday when she was a child.   

Speaking about receiving the award, Julie said, “It is an incredible honour to be recognised in this way for my life’s achievements. Falmouth University has a world-wide reputation for teaching creative excellence. I am hoping that my contributions will help to broaden Falmouth’s reputation globally as well as nationally. I am so pleased to become a part of their collaborative team of artists, performers and creatives.   

"I am passionate about widening access to dance and performance and I am inspired by the energy and talent among the students and faculty at Falmouth. The atmosphere in the teaching spaces is invigorating, exciting, and offers a tantalising glimpse of the future of the industry. I look forward to being a part of Falmouth’s students’ journey – supporting and encouraging the next generation of diverse, inclusive practitioners.”   

Julie Felix will be conferred her honorary fellowship at a graduation ceremony on 11 July, alongside students from AMATA, Falmouth’s Academy of Music and Theatre Arts

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