Published: February 17, 2010
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LET'S ASK THE INSIDER...
JULIA HANTIG

Meet SBF Member Julia, a professional dancer, who's had an amazing career which began at the Moulin Rouge in 1969, before moving to the MGM Grand, Reno & The Dunes, Las Vegas. She later became part of The Fercos, top animal illusionist act and toured the world. After a 17-year break and raising two daughters, who are now both professional dancers, she has picked up her shoes again and dug out the fishnets and become part of the Generations show in Zurich.
We are very happy that Julia has shared her experience with SBF!
Julia Hantig

  • You hung up your shoes a while ago, obviously thinking your career was over. What made you change your mind?
    Quote Not having danced for 17 years, I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to pick up the routines so quickly - I just jumped right back in there...

    Reno, MGM Grand
Hello Hollywood Hello
Blue Sleeves
1983 Julia Hantig: I hung up my shoes 17 years ago to be precise. What made me change my mind was an email that was circulating, forwarded by my ex husband, looking for mature dancers 50 plus. My daughter Crystal was with me and she read it and encouraged me to reply. I was apprehensive at first, but then thought, why not! So I sent a photo I had taken on holiday, as that's all I had, and a bit of background history, (short bio). Didn't know if I would hear back, but to my surprise I did! Cindy Gasser replied saying she was very interested in me, but wanted me to send a recent photo. I replied saying it was... she must have thought I looked good! lol.

  • What has been your family and friends reaction to you performing again?
    JH: My daughters are so proud of me, that means more than anything to me, and family and friends think it's fantastic - especially at my age! My daughters have never seen me dance. I'm so proud of my girls - Crystal is in panto with Christopher Biggins at the Theatre Royal, Plymouth and Juliet is working with her dad in the act The Fercos Brothers "Untamed Illusions" at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. When people ask them what their parents do, I guess they get a strange reaction when they say "my dad's an illusionist and works with tigers, lions etc and my mum's a dancer"! I didn't think that either of my daughters would be able to see me in Generations, but my boyfriend surprized me with a visit and brought Crystal with him. It was amazing.
    Reno, MGM Grand
Hello Hollywood Hello
Julia and Virginia Hantig with Sheba & Zira, as part of the 'Fercos' Act
1989
  • How have you kept yourself fit over the years to be able to do a show at 57?
    JH: Yes, at 57 I have kept myself fit by exercise, salsa and recently I have taken up ballroom and Latin American dancing, after being inspired by Strictly Come Dancing.

  • Did you have the same feelings and emotions before starting the contract and/or on opening night, this time around, as you did in your past career as a dancer?
    JH: Not having danced for 17 years, I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to pick up the routines so quickly - I just jumped right back in there. We were all at different speeds for picking up the routines and we helped one another. However, having never worked in a circus before, what did take time in getting used to, was performing in a round - everywhere is the front! I don't get butterflies now and I think that's because I know what to do and I'm very focused. As we are so focused, we're not going to let ourselves down. We still go over things before every show, just to make sure - obviously the brain doesn't function as well as it used to! However, the WOW feeling is just the same, when you see how much the audience like and appreciate us. We are introduced one at a time, by our names and age and it's wonderful to see the audiences reaction to this.

    Zurich, Conelli Circus
Generations
Julia with Roby & Cindy Lee Gasser
  • There is obviously an age difference between the two groups of dancers in the show, what is your relationship with the other group - do you mix and socialize with them?
    JH: As the saying goes, we're all in this together - everyone gets on great and there's no bitching. We're here to do a job - a job that we love, and that's what we do. Between us "old" ones and the "young" ones we call ourselves "the mummies and daughters". I think in a way they look up to us and our experience - they are terrific girls. Us "oldies" don't tend to go out after the show - we work seven days a week - 2 shows a day - a matinee and evening show. We need to rest our bodies at the end of a long day. We all eat very healthily and are very aware of what our bodies need to do the job. I share a room with Lynn Martin Fouce and we get on fantastically. Lynn is the oldest at 63 and we worked together in Mexico when I was 20. Two of the other girls Beverley Fagundes Griffith & Carolynn Hamilton Jones I worked with in my first contract at the Moulin Rouge, Paris when we were 17 & 18.
    Las Vegas, Dunes
Casino de Paris
Julia & Lynette Perry
1980



  • Please tell us about your audition?
    JH: Cindy flew me out to Zurich in July with two other ladies that I had put in touch with her, one I knew as we had worked at the Moulin Rouge together when we were 18 , and the other through a mutual friend. We were picked up and taken to Connyland, a theme park outside Zurich where Cindy runs it alongside her husband.
    Quote I've learnt so much over my showbiz career. It teaches you discipline for life and things that you can pass onto your children...
    We were tired and excited at the same time, upon meeting Cindy she suggested we go and audition straight away, so we did.
    The audition was an hour long and we did a routine to We're All in This Together from High School Musical as the show is called Generations, in the style of street jazz - loved the choreography right up my street! It was difficult at first - brain was a bit scrambled to say the least!, we certainly had some moments, to be expected after 17 years!! Cindy really put us through our paces for one hour. She seemed pleased with us. After we finished we had lunch and waited for Cindy to let us know if we were what she wanted, I actually felt a little nervous and thought I wasn't good enough, she eventually came back after discussing it with her husband and said she would be hiring all three of us, as she was pleased and could see we were all trained dancers. It all seemed quite surreal at that moment. We signed contracts took measurements and tried on shoes, and had lots of lol moments that afternoon. I felt really proud of all of us - quite an achievement I thought.


  • Julia in Generations What is your favourite part of the show? JH: I love all of it, but my favourite is Welcome to the 50's to the song from Hairspray, but with 60's replaced by 50's as we are all in our fifties. It's such a hard and strong number and there are 10 US gospel singers too and the audience go crazy over it.

  • Now that you've got back into performing, is this a one-off or would you like to carry on?
    JH: I don't think that I'm ready to answer that until the end of this contract. I do find working 7 days a week very enduring. But once you are a dancer, you're always a dancer and I just love performing. I'm so happy & grateful for being given this opportunity. It's an incredible experience and I think that we should all be very proud of ourselves. I've learnt so much over my showbiz career. It teaches you discipline for life and things that you can pass onto your children. We all make mistakes and we learn from them - doing it the second time around, you don't make those mistakes again. To be part of this and share it with friends who I worked with 40 years ago, is like a massive catch up. In a way it's very surreal - I have to pinch myself sometimes! Where have the last 17 years gone? - in doing a wonderful job, of being a mother.

    Thank you Julia for your brilliant interview!