Julie Kent

Ethereal and delicate, with immaculate technique, Julie Kent is the epitome of a prima ballerina. Originally from Bethesda, MD, she began her training with Hortensia Fonseca at the Academy of Maryland Youth Ballet. As a young teen she attend the American Ballet Theatre II Summer session and the School of American Ballet’s summer program. She was asked to join American Ballet Theatre as an apprentice at just 16. In 1986 she became a member of the corps de ballet, and that same year was the only American to win a medal at the Prix de Lausanne International Ballet Competition. During her 24 years at ABT, Kent, now a principal, has become an audience favorite, excelling in nearly every famous ballerina role—Giselle, Juliet and Odette/Odile among them. She’s also appeared onscreen, starring opposite Mikhail Baryshnikov in the 1987 film Dancers and with fellow ABT principal Ethan Stiefel in the much-loved Center Stage in 2000. Kent, who is married to ABT associate artistic director Victor Barbee, has been missed in the theater recently: she and Barbee welcomed their second child in June. But don’t worry—she’s expected to return for the 2009–2010 season. —Michael Anne Bailey

Dear Julie,

Many years have gone by since those days you spent wondering where your path would lead you. It has been an exciting journey, filled with many special moments, people and experiences.

Remember that confidence comes from within. It’s not given to you by words of praise or compliments; it’s a trust in yourself, a belief that you know what you are doing and are capable of doing it. If you don’t feel it naturally, you must work on it, just as you would work on any technical skill. You will need it and rely on it throughout your career.

Perspective is also essential, and you should strive to understand both the big picture and the details in everything, onstage and off. It’s important to appreciate yourself in an honest way. Accept your physical appearance, your abilities, and the strengths and weaknesses in your character. Having a clear sense of yourself as a person and a dancer will help you develop a more honest understanding of all aspects of life.

Lastly, I would remind you to learn from a variety of sources—from other dancers, teachers, coaches, parents, friends and loved ones. You will make mistakes, but if you surround yourself with the right people, you will learn even more from them than from your accomplishments.

I’m proud of what you have achieved, but mostly grateful to all those who have helped you. You’re luckier than you realize!

Sending my love,



Latest Posts

Photo by Jayme Thornton

How Paloma Garcia-Lee Manifested Her Dream Role, in Steven Spielberg’s "West Side Story"

On a rainy day in November 2018, Paloma Garcia-Lee got a call from her agent that brought her to her knees outside her New York City apartment: She was going to play Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.

The call came after a lengthy audition process with Spielberg in the room, and the role, originated by Wilma Curley on Broadway in 1957 and later portrayed by Gina Trikonis in the 1961 film, was her biggest dream. In fact, it's something Garcia-Lee says she manifested from the day plans for the movie were announced in January 2018. "I wrote in my journal: 'I am playing Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.'"

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo by @mediabyZ

Am I Less Committed to Dance Because I Have Other Passions? (Spoiler Alert: NO!)

Let's face it—dance is HARD, and in order to achieve your goals, you need to be committed to your training. "Still, there's a fine line between being committed and being consumed." Dancers can, and should, have interests outside of the studio.

Not convinced? We talked with dance psychologist Dr. Lucie Clements and two multifaceted dancers, Kristen Harlow (a musical theater dancer pursuing a career in NYC and Kentucky) and Kallie Takahashi (a dancer in her final year at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts), and got the inside scoop on how having hobbies outside of dance can inform your artistry, expand your range and help prevent burnout.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo courtesy of Brittany Conigatti

Go Behind the Scenes of Annie Live! With Brittany Conigatti

Unwrap your candy canes, pour the hot chocolate and round up your fellow theater lovers: NBC is kicking off the Christmas season with its latest live-broadcast TV musical. Annie Live! premieres December 2 and features a star-studded cast, including Harry Connick Jr., Tituss Burgess, Megan Hilty and, as the title character, young phenom Celina Smith.

Luckily, people got a taste of what the special will entail when the cast kicked off the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with a performance last week. But since you’re never fully dressed without a Dance Spirit exclusive, we caught up with Brittany Conigatti, one of the young orphans and adult ensemble members in the show, to learn what it was like putting together a large-scale live production for the small screen.

The cast of Annie Live! poses for a group photo. The cast of Annie Live!Photo courtesy of Conigatti

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

Enter the Cover Model Search