Julia Topper is an adjunct professor of ethnomusicology at American University, freelance writer for the Feis App and Irish Dancing Magazine, piano teacher, Irish dancer, and assistant teacher at the Culkin School of Irish Dance in Maryland. She holds an MA in Ethnomusicology from the Eastman School of Music, and recently completed her PhD in Ethnomusicology with the University of Maryland, College Park, culminating in a dissertation entitled, “As We Circle the World: A Performative Ethnography of Irish Step Dance and Music in the United States and Japan,” which draws in part from her fieldwork experience studying Irish dancing in the U.S. and with dance schools in Tokyo.
Julia had her first experiences in Irish dancing at the Woodgate School of Irish Dance in Buffalo, NY, but the majority of her studies and experiences have taken place with the Culkin School, which she joined in 2012. Studying under Phil Stacy, TCRG, she is an active competitor in the adult program and has been a part of several winning Southern Region Oireachtas and North American Nationals céilí teams, and additionally has won multiple feiseanna adult solo championships, including Feis Culkin’s Peggy O’Neill perpetual cup, and placed in the top 5 at the first adult solo competition at the 2018 Southern Region Oireachtas.
Under the direction of Kate Bole, Julia has also had the opportunity to explore Irish dance outside the competition realm as part of the Culkin LIVE dance ensemble, which is made up of current and former championship dancers and teachers from the Culkin School, and has performed at venues throughout the greater Washington D.C. area, including the Kennedy Center.
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