With her polished technique and serenely regal stage presence, Julie Diana is elegance personified. Originally from Summit, NJ, Diana studied with the New Jersey Ballet for five years before moving on to the prestigious School of American Ballet in NYC. In 1993, she joined San Francisco Ballet, where she was made soloist in 1997 and principal in 2000. She wowed California audiences in classical works like Giselle and contemporary pieces like Christopher Wheeldon’s Polyphonia, but she shone especially brightly in the works of George Balanchine, particularly Symphony in C and Apollo. In 2004, Diana made a cross-country jump to Pennsylvania Ballet, where she continues to perform as a principal dancer. Today, Diana wears many different hats: Not only is she wife to fellow PAB principal Zachary Hench and mom to 1-year-old daughter Riley, but she’s also a talented writer—for DS, no less! —Margaret Fuhrer
Stop! Just for a second. Take a breath. Actually, take a break. You work hard, and your perseverance will pay off, but you need to relax and enjoy every moment. The time passes by so quickly—you will travel around the world and back before you realize what an incredible life ballet has afforded you.
Keep a journal. Record inspirational experiences, like the way it feels to dance in such beautiful theaters as the Paris Opera House and Covent Garden. Write down what it feels like to perform the role of Juliet for the first time. One day, when you’re lacking motivation and feeling frustrated by daily struggles, you’ll be grateful to have these tangible memories.
Trust yourself! You’ll be given tremendous opportunities and you should believe that you deserve them. Never stop setting goals. Keep your bubble—the imaginary one surrounding you that deflects negative energy—intact. Be prepared for the unexpected, follow your heart and keep smiling. The future will be more fulfilling than you can possibly imagine!
Your more mature self,
From top: Photo by Sasha Iziliaev; courtesy Julie Diana