The roots of the Academy of American Ballet trace to Julia Dugan’s time at Stanford. As a student in 1993, Julia founded the Cardinal Ballet, Stanford’s first ballet company. After directing the company for six years, Julia saw a need to introduce children into the company’s annual Nutcracker performance to complete Act I. That need, along with a lifelong goal of developing new thinking in ballet training, led to the founding of the Academy of American Ballet in 1999.
Now, over 20 years later, the Academy of American Ballet trains well over 100 dancers every year and is the leading Peninsula area ballet school that focuses on developing artistry and sound technique based on anatomical principles in harmony with a dancer’s body.
Julia Dugan began studying ballet with the Sacramento Ballet under the directorship of Barbara Crockett. Her training also included study with the Boston Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet, and scholarship study with the San Francisco Ballet. After graduating from high school, Julia began dancing professionally with the American Festival Ballet. While dancing with the Eugene Ballet and Tulsa Ballet Theatre, Julia toured throughout 45 of the continental States, and performed overseas in Taiwan. After dancing professionally for five years, she began her university studies and graduated from Stanford University with a BA in Economics and an MA in Dance Education. Julia founded Stanford’s first ballet company, taught university ballet classes, and received a full-scholarship from former Provost Condoleezza Rice.
Julia has been teaching dance for over thirty years, and has directed Nutcracker and other productions for thirty years. She has extensive training in Pilates, EBAS, and Feldenkrais which she tries to incorporate into her teaching. Julia is certified in teaching level pre ballet, 1, 2, 3, and 4 in the Vaganova method. Julia opened AAD in the fall of 1999 with a vision to improve dance training methods and provide a progressive approach to coaching dancers.
Julia is also a proud wife, and mother of three children.