Skip to content
Black British Ballet

Julie Felix

Ethnic heritage: British biracial (English Mother/Saint Lucian Father)

Year of birth: 1956

Training: Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance, 1973

Ballet career: Julie Felix, was born and raised in Ealing, West London. Her father was from St Lucia and her mother was from London. Julie joined Rambert Ballet School in 1973. She worked with Rudolph Nureyev and The London Festival Ballet but was told she would not be given a full contract because she was black.

As a result, Felix went to New York to join Dance Theatre of Harlem in 1977, where she became a leading dancer and performed around the world and for President Ronald Regan, Michael Jackson, Prince and Lionel Richie at the1984 closing ceremony of the Los Angeles Olympics.

Felix eventually returned to the UK after 10 years and became company teacher and remedial coach at Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet, first in London, then in Birmingham, when the company became Birmingham Royal Ballet, in 1990. Felix also taught at Matthew Bourne’s and Wayne McGregor’s companies. She then became the first ballet teacher for the Birmingham Royal Ballet’s community programme, Dance Track in 1997.

She worked as Head of dance at St Martin’s girls school in Solihull until her retirement. Her biography Brickbats and Tutus was written by John Plimmer.

Felix has been invited to teach and lecture at the English National Ballet School and the Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance. She is currently a company teacher at ACE Music and Dance. In 2022, Julie was awarded an Honorary Fellowship at Falmouth University.

Sadly, classical ballet has excluded dancers of colour for many years, ignoring the fact that they may have tremendous talent. Rejection gave me the strength and courage to forge ahead with my true passion. I never gave up. My words to young dancers are: Be great in all that you do. Be inspired. Be reflective and savour all aspects of this lifelong journey. You may stumble and come across obstacles in life as I did. You may wonder why life is not running along the path you had wished for but be steadfast, have courage and believe that greater opportunities await you.
- Julie Felix