Julia Wilkinson Manley began her training with Cristina Munro (London Festival Ballet, Eliot Feld) in Corpus Christi, Texas. Julia continued her training with the Boston Ballet Centre for Dance Education and the Houston Ballet Academy. At the University of Oklahoma, she earned a BFA in ballet pedagogy and danced soloist and principal roles in Balanchine’s Serenade, Miguel Terekhov’s Four Moons, Sleeping Beauty, and The Nutcracker, as well as numerous soloist roles choreographed for her by Mary Margaret Holt (Houston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet). She toured with Ballet Ireland under the direction of Günther Falüsy, and performed with David Taylor Dance Theatre and Ballet Nouveau Colorado. Her choreographic work has been performed by numerous companies, including Corpus Christi Ballet, David Taylor Dance Theatre, Ballet Nouveau Colorado, and she has created over 30 full-length and short works for Colorado Conservatory of Dance.
Julia joined the faculty of the School of Ballet Nouveau Colorado in January 2002, transitioning to School Director in 2003, as a traumatic injury lead to an early end to her performing career. In 2009, Julia served on the committee to rewrite the Colorado Academic Standards for Dance for the Colorado Department of Education and completed the Community Arts Education Leadership Institute (CAELI) under the mentorship of John McCann in 2015. In 2013, she lead the school in becoming a new non-profit organization, Colorado Conservatory of Dance, focused on making lives better through dance education and performance. Many of her students have gone on to enjoy professional careers in dance with companies such as Atlanta Ballet, Colorado Ballet, Eugene Ballet, Houston Ballet, Oklahoma City Ballet, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Wonderbound, Verb Ballets, and more. Similarly, many of her students have gone on to illustrious careers as brain surgeons, architects, scientists, teachers, engineers, visual artists, writers, physical therapists, and more – all with the love of dance bolstering their success. Julia is committed to using her experience with injury to positively impact the way dance can and should be taught. She is passionate about providing an environment for learning where dancers can feel vulnerable and authentic, where dance technique is taught kinesthetically and without judgement, and with which the community is emboldened with curiosity, artistic sensibility, and tolerance.