Julie Nakagawa

Excellence is not an act, it’s a habit.


From Evanston, Illinois, Julie was a featured dancer with Christopher D’Amboise’s Off Center Ballet, Cleveland Ballet, and Twyla Tharp Dance. She has also performed in Ruth Page’s Nutcracker and Die Fledermaus. Returning to Chicago upon her retirement from dancing, she has been especially interested in the development of dance artists and their related artistic collaborators. At the invitation of Lou Conte, Julie joined the staff of Lou Conte Dance Studio in January 1994 and rose to the position of Associate Director. In addition, she led Hubbard Street 2 from its inception in 1997 through February 2007 as the artistic director of the second company of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, nurturing young dancers and establishing the National Choreographic Competition to provide creative opportunities for emerging dance makers. A sought-after teacher, Julie has taught classes for dance studios, university programs, and companies, locally, nationally, and internationally. She has served as a member and officer of the Board of Trustees of Dance/USA, has engaged as a mentor in multiple pairings through Dance/USA’s Institute for Leadership Training, has been a panelist for numerous review panels including the National Endowment for the Arts, the McKnight Foundation, the Princess Grace Foundation, and the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. The Chicago Foundation for Women’s Asian American Leadership Council honored Julie for her work in the creative arts. She is grateful for the opportunity to lead DanceWorks Chicago, a creative incubator fostering a diverse next generation of movers and makers, empowering young artists to cultivate their unique voices in the dance community through skill acquisition and development; collaborations and relationship-building with a global perspective; intense and intentional mentorship; and performances that shine a light on dancers and dance.