James Madison Prep Senior, Juliette Rueger Talks Dancing and Acting

Juliette has embodied the meaning of responsibility this year as a senior. Juliette is involved in multiple extra curricular activities while at the same time remaining on the honor roll. Juliette has been involved in volleyball, soccer, tap, show choir, theater and served as the football manager. Where Juliette has truly shined this year is in the theater department. Juliette had a lead role in our original fall play, “A Christmas Carol 2.0” where she played the role of Mrs. Cratchit. In addition, Juliette served as the dance captain for our spring musical, “Chicago,” while simultaneously performing in the show. As the dance captain, Juliette played a vital role in getting all the dance numbers ready for performance, working with 6-12th graders for seven different dance numbers. This is even more impressive when one considers that Juliette joined the theater program as a junior and quickly mastered tap and jazz in less than two years. Juliette possesses a positive quality that gives her a drive and ambition that is unique among her peers.

Q. Can you tell us about your involvement in “Chicago?”
A. In my school’s production of Chicago, I played the role of Mona (a dancer in Cell Block Tango) as well as being apart of the dance ensemble. Along with that I was chosen to be dance captain for the show. This entailed me being in charge of getting everyone caught up on dances that were behind and making them look clean and ready to perform. I held practices as often as possible during school hours and ran through as many dances as possible. I felt very honored to be chosen to take on the role of dance captain. I enjoyed it very much as I got to conwstantly do what I love the most – dance. I’m really appreciative of the directors of the show, Mr. Batchelder and Mrs. Curtis, for giving me this amazing opportunity. I am forever grateful!

Q. How has being an athlete impacted you over the years?
A. From my earliest days, I’ve watched my dad be an Ironman Triathlete and my mom be a body builder. Sports have always been such a big part of my life. I’ve done countless athletic activities, whether with clubs or with schools. The list is pretty long as it includes: gymnastics, swimming, springboard diving, horseback riding, Flamenco dancing in France, hip-hop, ballet, soccer, tennis, volleyball, and track & field. I like to think of gymnastics as being the base for the success of all the other sports. For example, when I switched to dive I already had a solid background when it came to balance, control and flexibility, which were all obtained through gymnastics. So, although I was new to the sport at an older age I caught on pretty quickly and started competing straight away.

The greatest impact it has had on my life? It has opened my eyes and helped me realize how much I love dance! The foundation, the whole process that supports me as a dancer, has been being an athlete. I’ve developed control of my body, strength, technique, flexibility, and have a good sense of rhythm. Being an athlete has shaped me into who I am today and forever will be.

Q. What are your plans for next year?
A. Next year I plan on attending Mesa Community College (MCC) here in Mesa, Arizona. I will be working toward a Bachelors of Arts in hopes to pursue a career in acting and performance.

I will also be looking into walking on to their track and field team for a possible scholarship opportunity. After attending two years at MCC I will be transferring to ASU to further my acting dreams. Along with school and work I plan on keeping an eye open for possible auditions and chances at performing anywhere possible.

In the midst of all this, my parents will be in the process of living in France for a part of each year. It will be a big jump, becoming an adult, and living without them for extended periods of time. It will be a big change but its something everyone ends up facing in life. My parents have raised me to be such a person that can handle this kind of change. It’s a relief to hear them say they will always be there for me even when living in a different country. Along with my parents I have my siblings who have always been there for me and will help me transition along the way.

Q. Can you tell us about your family?
A. My family is big and spread out across the globe. My dad’s side of the family (he has four siblings) lives in Pennsylvania (his birthplace), West Virginia and Florida. My mom’s side of the family (she also has four siblings) lives in northern and southern France. My mom was born in Lille, France.

I also have four siblings! One lives in Asia and in Europe, one lives here in Arizona, one in California and one is a Special Operations Command US Marine who has lived in different parts of the USA and in the Middle East. As siblings we are active and enjoy each others’ company. We’ve always been a team.

I have enjoyed and will continue to enjoy many benefits of having such a diverse family. I am bilingual, have dual citizenship and have travelled extensively on two continents beginning at the age of two months. I’ve experienced rural and urban life. I’m fortunate.

Q. What was “Math Student of the Year”?
A. I was born in Tempe, Arizona then lived in southern France at our farm from age four to twelve. Moving back to the USA after living in France for nine years was not the easiest of transitions, especially when it came to school life. The language and system are extremely different and trying to keep up in class was an initial struggle. Math was one of those challenges; however, I worked hard and put a lot of effort into improving. Noticing my effort and commitment to boost up my grade, my math teacher awarded me the math student of the year award in eighth grade. Today, I enjoy math very much and do well at it.

Q. Can you tell us about riding and breaking horses?
A. As I’ve already mentioned, when in France I grew up on a farm with my family. We had lots of animals which included chickens, ducks, sheep, cows, pigs, horses, goats, cats and dogs, birds, rabbits and donkeys. While there I took horseback riding lessons for five years and absolutely loved it! I did have a horse of my own on the farm but he wasn’t broken and had never been ridden. I wanted to be able to ride whenever I wanted and not just take lessons. So I decided to start training my horse and attempted to ride him. I realized how much I enjoyed it and after accomplishing that, I decided I wanted to attempt working with and breaking the other horses on the farm.

One of the horses I broke was one of our Comtois. These horses originated in the Mountains on the border between France and Switzerland. They are enormously strong. (We still have two at the farm). It was an amazing experience that I’ll never forget and one I will forever be grateful for. It was an opportunity that not many have the chance to experience. I’m glad I pursued this. I am grateful!



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