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Following Septime Webre‘s departure as artistic director in June, the Washington Ballet won’t be leaderless for long: The organization announced today that Julie Kent has been named its new artistic director. Kent, who retired from the American Ballet Theatre last summer after 29 years, will start at the Washington Ballet on July 1. For Kent, the position is something of a homecoming: her long and storied career began at the Academy of the Youth Ballet, where she trained until she joined ABT at the age of 16.
Kent was made a soloist in 1990 and became principal dancer in 1993. With 29 years under her belt, she was ABT’s longest-serving dancer. But her accolades extend further than ABT; she received the Prix de Lausanne in 1986, the Erik Bruhn Prize in 1993, the Prix de la Danse in 2000, an Honorary Doctorate of Performing Arts from North Carolina School of the Arts in 2012, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from Dance Magazine. She’s also been in a couple movies, including Dancers and Center Stage.
And Kent isn’t coming to the Washington Ballet alone; her husband, Victor Barbee, has been named associate artistic director. Like Kent, Barbee comes from ABT, where he’s spent the past 13 years as the associate artistic director.
Photo via Washington Ballet