Julie Knowles - Founder and Artistic Director

JULIE HUNT KNOWLES began her formal training as a young dancer in the 1970s with the Bischoff-Carroll Dance Centre and Memphis Ballet, under the direction of Michael and Judy Tevlin. At the age of 15, she was asked to join the professional company of the Memphis Ballet. During her studies with the Tevlins, Mrs. Knowles completed her Royal Academy of Dancing examinations and Dance Education Syllabus with Honours. It was also during this period that she began teaching dance classes, working with all ages of students, from pre-schoolers to adults.

As a part of the professional touring company with the Memphis Ballet, she performed throughout the Southeast region.  She went on to perform with other classical ballet companies including Tennessee Ballet, Classical Ballet Memphis, Lafayette Festival Ballet, Huntsville Ballet, and the Birmingham Ballet among others. As a jazz dancer, her technical skill and her high-energy flair has landed her many roles in the entertainment industry and also afforded her a scholarship opportunity to study with legendary godfather of modern jazz dance, Gus Giordano.

While a student at the University of Memphis in the late 1980s, she completed her B.A. degree in Communications and during this time took a leadership role in concert production and stage management for campus programming. In this capacity, she planned concerts (both indoors and outdoors), negotiated contracts, managed venue logistics, and presented Richard Marx, REO Speedwagon, The Call, The Smithereens, Cheap Trick, Jay Leno, Bobcat Goldthwait, Michael Winslow, Najee and Pat Metheny, among many other gifted artists.

With a teaching career that already spans thirty-five years, she has trained thousands of students in the Mid-South. Many of her students have been accepted into some of the country's most prestigious classical summer study programs and company apprentice programs including American Ballet Theatre, Boston Ballet, Joffery Ballet, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet, North Carolina School of the Arts, Virginia School for the Arts, Houston Ballet, and others. In addition to her students' classical successes, they have also excelled in the commercial markets as well. Many have appeared in local and regional theater productions at Theater Memphis, Playhouse on the Square, Circuit Playhouse. Nationally, her students have gone on to DisneyWorld, Broadway musicals (Fosse, Cats and West Side Story, among others), the music video industry, and have pursued careers in arts related business fields.  Several of her students have become dance teachers and now operate their own studios.

As a choreographer, Mrs. Knowles' work includes ballets such as The Nutcracker, Cinderella, Paquita, The Skaters, Peter & The Wolf, The Secret Garden, Les Sylphides, Coppelia, The Tarentella. Over the last twenty-five years, she has produced award-winning choreography for competitions, theme parks, fashion shows, television shows, commercials, and film.  

Mrs. Knowles has been featured as a principal in a variety of commercials, corporate videos, and motion pictures. Some of her work has included Kroger Stores, Toyota, Perkins Restaurant, and many others.  She has also worked with CBS, Blink MultiMedia, and API.  

In 2006, she became a certified personal trainer with specialty areas of interest in  kickboxing, Pilates, weight training and nutrition guidance. 

Mrs. Knowles is a graduate of Lausanne Collegiate School and a graduate of Memphis State University. She lives in Collierville with her husband and four children. 

Copyright 2013 - Collierville Arts Academy - Questions?  901-861-7001 • 369 Distribution Parkway, Collierville, TN 38017