Julie Seal grew up on Long Island and initially trained as a ballet dancer. Yet, at six foot tall, Seal knew that she would probably never find a partner tall enough for the added height that comes with pointe shoes. Shifting gears to modern dance, and moving to NYC after graduating from Hofstra University, Seal has found a welcoming home in the downtown dance scene. She got her start in experiential performance art in 2016 with Third Rail Projects in Brooklyn—an immersive dance theater company—in the production The Grand Paradise. Now, she can be found in performing the Red and White Queen in Third Rail’s Then She Fell. Photographer Jim Lafferty spent an afternoon capturing the exquisite ease and grace of her moves.
“My relationship with my body, it has always been a thing, I have never gone to a dance class where my height has not been mentioned, never, whether it is ‘oh your long legs’ or ‘oh my gosh, you are so tall!’ I have come to appreciate my height, as an aesthetic, I am starting to like that about myself. I love that I can eat up the same amount of space as a tall man and I like having this much spine to work with…”
“There is a steep learning curve, but you become very intuitive. With interactive theater, you have to get a sense of the people in the room and learn how to balance and respond to the energies coming in. My physicality plays a role in that too, and can give me a bit of status. What does it meant to be present? Questioning that is an exciting shift to make.”
“I always love going to the ballet and seeing concert dance. I love the virtuosity of it. The work I am doing now is up close, but I love the distance and grandeur of that perspective too. Outside of Third Rail I am developing my own work, and even though everything is in flux, I am still interested in form and the formalism of dance.”
“When Doug Varone came to my college and Julia Burrer taught a workshop, I thought, ‘damn, that is what I want to look like.’”