Julia Ruth’s first opportunity in performance came when she began college in 2010. A physics major and athlete, Julia was attracted to her school’s gymnastic and acrobatic performance-based student organization, Gymkana. Members of Gymkana serve as ambassadors to the school, touring local Maryland schools and performing over 20 unique acts at daytime assemblies, and spreading a message of healthy living. It was during her four-year commitment to Gymkana that she fell in love with performance. She enjoyed the thrill of performing death-defying stunts in front of large audiences while sharing an important message with youth in the community. Julia’s focus within the troupe was primarily gymnastic rings and partner balancing. Drawn to the strength elements of both practices, she sought special training from the coaches to learn skills traditionally reserved for male athletes. Some of Julia’s most notable performances with Gymkana include the New York Knicks’ Halftime Show, Washington D.C. Cherry Blossom Festival, Miss Virginia Pageant, and the International Monetary Fund.
After graduation, Julia sought opportunities to continue her passion for performance and moved to San Diego to train and teach at the San Diego Circus Center. Through Julia’s time training at the San Diego Circus Center, she has gained experience performing many circus disciplines including Cyr wheel, hand-to-hand, aerial silks, Spanish web, aerial straps, clowning, hand balancing, and stilt walking. The San Diego Circus Center has introduced Julia to well-established performance artists who have served as outstanding mentors in her life. The training she has received and the connections she has made have been invaluable to her growth.
In early 2016, Julia became a founding member of Lighthouse Circus Theatre, a company of artists collaborating to create innovative contemporary circus shows highlighting the adversity and difficulties of those living with mental illness. Julia’s thought provoking work with Lighthouse Circus Theatre challenges the stigma behind mental illness, and ignites an expanded perspective on the fragility and beauty of people’s everyday journeys through life. Julia is not afraid to be vulnerable on stage while sharing her stories and the experiences of others in order to spread messages of hope and community. In July 2016, the first show Julia produced with Lighthouse Circus Theatre won “Outstanding Circus Arts” at the San Diego International Fringe Festival. She is currently producing a new show with the company to be premiered summer 2017.
In the spring of 2016, Julia began performing with the San Diego Zoo as a performer with the company Wray and Associates. She performs as a puppeteer, animating various single and multi-person puppets for the summer and winter terms as well as off-season zoo events, including the San Diego Zoo’s centennial celebration. Julia enjoys making guests of the park laugh and smile through her movement and character work while animating the beautiful and majestic animal puppets.
In the winter of 2016, Julia joined the Circus Collective of San Diego and was invited to perform in the company’s show addressing displaced persons and refugees in America. Julia travelled to Washington D.C. with the company to perform in the Atlas Interactions Festival. Julia was very involved in the creative process of the show and utilized her knowledge as a physicist to find a connection between principles in science and the experience of displaced persons. As a physicist, Julia appreciates the intersectionality of science with movement performance, weaving the principles learned in the classroom with skills learned in the gym.
Along side her work as a performer, Julia has continued to follow her passion in science. Julia interned at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and was an assistant researcher at the NOAA Laboratory for Satellite Altimetry. Julia accepted a National Science Foundation graduate fellowship to study and research at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego. Julia has since received her masters degree in geophysics and teaches middle school science at an independent school in San Diego. Throughout Julia’s growth as both a performer and a scientist, Julia continues to look for ways to connect her greatest passions: physics and circus.
Julia’s passion for circus performance is derived from the challenges and fears one must overcome when learning acrobatics. She has faced many of her fears and continues to every day throughout her training and performances. She enjoys setting and working towards goals to challenge conceptions of her capabilities. Julia enjoys performing strength based skills and is attracted to the discipline required to be successful as an acrobatic performer. As an artist, Julia hopes to have a positive impact on the lives of those around her; she believes her passion stretches beyond her personal growth, and she works hard to evoke emotion and start conversations by sharing her stories and the experiences of others in a unique light.