by Brenda Lange
New to the area but an experienced practitioner in the art of dance and healthy self-expression, Julie Goldberg – dance facilitator, coach and myofascial release therapist – will launch a new, ongoing course at Chestnut Hill’s Healing Arts Studio, 15 W. Highland Ave., on Thursday, Sept. 19.
Goldberg, 29, who began dancing at age 13 – mostly modern dance and jazz, with some ballet and improvisational performance work – has always loved to dance, move and express herself creatively through the art form. She grew up in San Juan Capistrano, California, and earned her bachelor’s degree in dance from the University of Oregon. Most recently a resident of Brooklyn, Goldberg decided to move to the Philadelphia area after visiting family and friends here, and she currently lives in West Chester.
Over the years, occasional professional dancing work with small troupes offered mixed experiences when some companies didn’t treat their dancers well or pushed them to do moves they weren’t ready for.
“Through dance, I used my body to express the positive way I felt, but some of the negative experiences with some companies led me to identify certain things about that professional environment that felt toxic,” Goldberg explained. “I wanted to create something welcoming for women who have never danced before … non-competitive and about how they feel, not how they look.”
Often women who haven’t had training feel they don’t belong or are not welcome in dance studios. It can be intimidating, but Goldberg has taught dance and Pilates and done personal training in workshops in Brooklyn and around the country and says her focus always has been on functional movement. “I help people move better and more safely … so they learn to move in the safest, healthiest ways.”
Once she relocated to the Philadelphia area, she decided to establish a new type of class combining all she has learned and experienced. A Google search led her to the Healing Arts Studio and its founder, Jodi Schwartz- Levy, PhD, LPC. Goldberg had found a kindred spirit in her and in the mission of the studio.
“Her program was of interest to me because so much of what we do is around women’s empowerment,” said Schwartz-Levy. “It’s important for women to have a space to feel safe and do healing work through movement and dance.”
Schwartz-Levy decided to bring in Goldberg to supplement the studio’s existing programs including yoga, modern dance and groups including mindful self-compassion and a no-diet, self-care collaboration for women struggling with food and body image.
“The classes are intimate and put people at ease in a safe space for healing work in a beautiful studio in the heart of Chestnut Hill,” added Schwartz-Levy.
“Deep Down Dancing is for women who want to dance and express themselves in a supportive, non-competitive and fun environment, who want to be creative, have fun and meet others,” Goldberg said, adding that she also loves free yet guided movement, and will include some choreography in the class.
Goldberg begins her classes with a simple, gentle, jazzy warmup, gradually building to stronger dance moves and ends with simple choreography. She also offers some circle time where participants may talk about what they are manifesting in their lives.
“I like us to talk about moving emotionally as we move physically,” Goldberg said. “What do we want to embody in that day’s class? We’ll pick a word at the beginning of each class and embody it throughout – maybe confidence or joy – and then we’ll end in a circle and reconnect around the word each woman chose to embody while doing some stretching and breathing exercises.”
Goldberg explained that her approach is built around supporting women as they follow their passions and build their confidence. Her background in Pilates and as a personal trainer, in addition to her professional dance training and experience, has given her a knowledge of how the body moves best to find health and joy.
“I do a lot of different things, but they’re all tied together from a desire to help others with healing and knowing and loving themselves on a deeper level,” Goldberg said. “That’s my mission. So others can live more fulfilling and freer lives.”
Visit HealingArtsPhilly.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.