Ever wanted to know what was going through a choreographer’s head when they created a dance you were watching? Julie Edison offered us a sneak peak into what went into creating Hey Jude.

Enter Julie:

One of our dearest dancers, Olivia Rodgerson, was in a car accident the morning after recital last year (2018), she was rushed to the hospital with massive head trauma. 

We spent the summer visiting her and her family in the hospital hoping that she would recover.  There were a lot of reasons to hope. The brain swelling eventually went down and after many weeks of other health complications, we began to speculate at what her future would be. We knew that if she survived, there were many months, maybe years, of recovery and therapy. It was clear to me then, that no matter the outcome, she wouldn’t be dancing with her friends this season. 

On the way home from the hospital one afternoon, the song Hey Jude by The Beatles was playing. I couldn’t help but think of Olivia and her zest for life and how her positive and adventurous outlook on life was infectious. This dance came together in my head almost immediately. 

Unfortunately, Olivia’s diagnosis changed early August, and she was taken off life support on August 17, 2018. 

The dance and the song stuck with me. She would’ve wanted us to celebrate life, to look for the good in people and places, to find adventures and to never hold back.

This piece is a reminder to me and the dancers that there is happiness after loss. We will never forget Olivia and what she gave to us – she will always hold a special place in our heart. We may shed tears over her loss, but we will always smile because we remember.

What was your inspiration? 
Olivia Rodgerson, remembering her love for life.

What came first? Music or Choreography?
They both came to me at the same time as a nearly complete routine.

What is the hardest part of the dance?
The dance is not the most technical piece. The biggest challenges for the dancers is emotionally staying in an “uplifting” mood even while fighting tears and timing with each other and the music. There are very few “counts” in this piece, the choreography is done to the music almost completely.

How do you hope audience feels when they watch this dance?
Warm and connected. 

What makes you proud of this dance?
I love the flow of the movement and transitions. The routine effortlessly moves from moment to moment, something that I often find challenging to do in other pieces.

What is my personal favorite moment? 
I LOVE the buildup into the chorus, towards the end of the dance along with the first repetition of the chorus. That section just gives me the warm-fuzzies.
A close second is the partner work at the opening of the routine.

Hey Jude was choreographed by Julie Edison and is performed by a mix of dancers from our Level 4 and Level 5 teams. It will be performed in both the 6:00 and 8:00 recital June 13th. We’d love to know what YOU as an audience member think of this piece and if you feel like the joy and love of life comes through.

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