A BALLET dancer from Looe feels ‘shocked’ to have been awarded an MBE as part of the New Year Honours List for her services to dance education. 

Julie Felix has lived in the seaside town of Looe with her partner Mike, a presenter on Liskeard Radio, for just over five years. 

Having always dreamt of becoming a professional ballet dancer, Julie worked hard from a young age but ran into some difficulties when first starting out. 

In 1970 she was offered a job with a British ballet company but was refused the contract because of the colour of her skin. 

Julie explained: “It was said I wouldn’t look right in the line up of the swans in the swan lake.” 

Despite this, Julie continued to pursue her dream and soon after was offered a job from a dance theatre in New York — Julie left the UK and began her career in America. 

She said: “I had an amazing career and gained so much.”  

After the performing element of her career in ‘the big apple’ came to an end, Julie took up a job in London as a company dance teacher and remedial coach where she worked for several years before moving up North with the dance company as it became the Birmingham Royal Ballet. 

For the next 16 years Julie worked as the head of dance at a private girl’s school before her and Mike decided to move to Looe where they could retire. 

The couple decided to move after both having travelled to Looe when they were children for holidays. 

Shortly after moving, COVID struck the world, leaving Julie with no pupils to teach. But thanks to Zoom, she was able to still teach through video calls. 

Since then, Julie has been awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the chancellor Dawn French at Falmouth University and was invited by Radio Cornwall to present the Make A Difference awards. 

More recently however, Julie received a letter in the post, announcing an altogether different award.

“It was a very official piece of post with his majesty’s service written across it – I thought what have I done!” Julie explained. 

But upon opening, Julie was notified that her name was on the New Year Honours List and she had been granted the Medallists of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) award. 

“I was sworn to secrecy. That was really difficult to hold onto something like that. 

“But when I opened it I was absolutely shocked that I would be awarded for something like this. 

“The recognition first of all for all the work that I’ve put in even through I’ve absolutely loved it is something that is for me important.   

“Sadly, my mother who was my greatest supporter, she’s no longer with us, I just wish that I would have been able to tell her in person if shed have been alive now that all the work, running me around for my exams and festival and competition, I know she was always extremely proud, but she was my greatest supporter, I know that is she heard that today and maybe she is listening that I’ve been awarded an MBE she would be so so proud of me. 

“I’m hoping that by having this award ill be able to do more within the dance education and the community.” 

The couple celebrated the award as well as New Year’s Eve in Liverpool with family members.