Julie Kent: ABT's Gift That Keeps On Giving

September 3, 2015


Kent taking her final bow in June. Photo by Rosalie O’Connor, courtesy National Review.

Anyone who read my sappy post about Julie Kent’s retirement in June knows that she inspires me as a performer and as a human being. That’s why I’m delighted (but not surprised!) that she’ll be continuing her legacy as a generous presence at American Ballet Theatre by becoming artistic director of ABT’s summer programs and teaching and coaching the company, studio company and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis students.


It makes sense that Kent will be dedicating herself to ABT’s future stars: Her husband, Victor Barbee, is ABT’s associate artistic director, and her eleven-year-old son, William, is a JKO student. And as she wrote in her 2008 “Why I Dance,” (the first that Dance Magazine ever published):


Not only the gratification of striving to create something of profound beauty and then developing the freedom to express it fully, openly, and generously, but the entire journey—the people who come and go, the music, your partners, the audience, the theaters—this all becomes your life. And if you are lucky enough to share it all with one other person, as I am with my husband Victor Barbee, ABT’s associate artistic director, then it becomes part of your family, as it now is for us and our 3-year-old son William. I imagine that he will say in years to come that in his life, dance was just always there.


Congratulations on your new position, Julie—I knew it was too early for ballet to lose a force like you.