Julie Kent (dancer)

Julie Kent (born 1969)[1] is an American ballet dancer; she was a principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre from 1993 to June 2015. Her farewell role was Juliet (in Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet).[2] In 2016, she was named the artistic director of The Washington Ballet.[3]

Julie Kent
Julie Kent with Marcelo Gomes
Julie Cox

1969 (age 4950)
OccupationBallet dancer
Years active19852016
Spouse(s)Victor Barbee
Former groupsAmerican Ballet Theatre (1985-2015)

Early life

She was born Julie Cox in Bethesda, Maryland, to an American father and a mother from New Zealand who was a flight attendant and a former ballet dancer.[4] Her early dance training took place under Hortensia Fonseca at the Academy of the Maryland Youth Ballet. She also studied at the American Ballet Theatre II summer school and the School of American Ballet.[5] She took the stage name Julie Kent at the suggestion of Mikhail Baryshnikov.[1]


Kent joined American Ballet Theatre as an apprentice in 1985, became a member of the company's corps de ballet in 1986, was promoted to soloist in 1990, and to principal dancer in 1993.[5] She is known as a skilled dramatic dancer.[6] She was often partnered with ABT Principal Ethan Stiefel, even co-starring with him in the film Center Stage.


Her roles with the Company include the Girl in Afternoon of a Faun, the title role in Anastasia, Terpsichore and Calliope in Apollo, Nikiya in La Bayadère, the third movement in Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1, the title role in Cinderella, Medora in Le Corsaire, the Lady with Him in Dim Lustre, Kitri and the Queen of the Driads in Don Quixote, Titania in The Dream, the Dying Swan, Anne in Christopher Wheeldon's VIII, the second girl in Fancy Free, the Glove Seller in Gaîté Parisienne, Giselle in Giselle, Caroline in Jardin aux Lilas, Manon in Manon, Hanna Glawari in The Merry Widow, the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Tatiana in Onegin, Desdemona in Othello, the pas de deux Other Dances, the pas de deux in Les Patineurs, Hagar in Pillar of Fire, the Siren in Prodigal Son, the Ranch Owner's Daughter in Rodeo, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, a Lover in Sin and Tonic, Princess Aurora, the Lilac Fairy, and Princess Florine in The Sleeping Beauty, the Sylph in La Sylphide, Odette-Odile in Swan Lake, Sylvia in Sylvia, the second movement in Symphony in C, the Nocturne and the Prelude in Les Sylphides, Katherina in The Taming of the Shrew, the Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, the Woman in Weren't We Fools? and leading roles in Ballet Imperial, Dark Elegies, Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes, Gong, Kaleidoscope, The Leaves Are Fading, Meadow, Mozartiana, Sinfonietta, "…smile with my heart", Spring and Fall, Stepping Stones, Symphonie Concertante and Theme and Variations. She created Artemis in Artemis, Sibyl Vane in Dorian, His Memory and His Experiences in HereAfter and leading roles in Americans We, Baroque Game, The Brahms/Haydn Variations, Clear, Concerto No. 1 for Piano and Orchestra, Cruel World, Getting Closer, Known by Heart, Rigaudon, States of Grace, Within You Without You: A Tribute to George Harrison and Without Words.[5]


Other work

Along with Mikhail Baryshnikov, she starred in Herbert Ross' 1987 film Dancers.[1]

In Nicholas Hytner's 2000 film Center Stage she played principal dancer Kathleen Donahue, with original choreography by Susan Stroman.

Personal life

Kent and her husband, The Washington Ballet Associate Artistic Director Victor Barbee,[6] are the parents of a son, William Spencer Barbee, and a daughter, Josephine Violet Barbee.


  1. "Teen Ballerina Julie Kent Is Baryshnikov's New Leading Lady". People. November 30, 1987.
  2. http://www.nationalreview.com/article/420762/julie-kent-interview-part-i
  3. Kaufman, Sarah L. (7 March 2016). "ABT star Julie Kent is Washington Ballet's new artistic director". Washington Post. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  4. Gia Kourlas (July 12, 2006). "Kent state: ABT's Julie Kent celebrates two decades on the job". Time Out New York.
  5. "Dancers: Principals: Julie Kent". American Ballet Theatre. Retrieved February 12, 2012.
  6. Kourlas, Gia (24 May 2015). "Three American Ballet Theater Dancers Plan Their Last Steps". New York Times. New York City, United States. Retrieved 27 May 2015.
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