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Julie Kent is leaving the Washington Ballet

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Just announced:

Announcing Julie Kent's Farewell Season

Legendary Artistic Director's Tenure to Conclude at the end of 2022–2023 Season

After seven seasons, Artistic Director Julie Kent will conclude her tenure at the end of the 2022–2023 season. Ms. Kent has accepted a new leadership role as Co-Artistic Director of Houston Ballet, effective July 2023.

"Our dancers are reaching new artistic peaks, our School and Community programs continue to grow in all corners of the city, and our company is authentically, intentionally building an organizational culture of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. I feel tremendous gratitude to my Washington Ballet family, and hopeful for all that lies ahead.” - Julie Kent


Throughout her decorated career, Julie Kent has showcased her dedication not only to the mastery of ballet, creativity, and expression but also to propelling ballet forward into the 21st century and redefining the image of the American Ballerina.

Ms. Kent joined The Washington Ballet in July 2016, becoming only its third Artistic Director in the company’s 46-year history. She has introduced important classical and contemporary masterworks into TWB’s repertoire including 26 world premieres by 17 unique choreographers in addition to her and Associate Artistic Director Victor Barbee’s own critically acclaimed stagings of The Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, and Swan Lake. 



“Julie’s leadership of The Washington Ballet has been nothing short of transformational. As Julie takes this next professional step, we offer our deepest thanks and full support. Together, we can move forward with confidence, knowing that our company is as strong as it has ever been.”
- Jean-Marie Fernandez, TWB Board Chair

Ms. Kent and her partner, TWB Associate Artistic Director Victor Barbee, will remain in their active leadership roles in Washington, D.C., through the remainder of TWB’s 2022–2023 season. 

Performances will include the upcoming production of The Nutcracker, an all-Balanchine program, a revival of Kent & Barbee's own critically acclaimed staging of The Sleeping Beauty at the Kennedy Center, and family performances at Capital One Hall, Tyson’s Corner, VA.



"It is precisely because of how far we have all come in the last seven years,  that I know this is the right moment for me, and for the Company, to look towards the future." - Julie Kent

Brava, Julie Kent!

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4 minutes ago, YouOverThere said:

According to what I've found trolling around the Internet, the HB's current AD, Stanton Welch, will stay on as the other co-AD, but will now have more time to choreograph.

This was reported in the Houston Chronicle.  I only read as far as I could without subscribing, but I got that far.



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There has been no mention of a job for Victor Barbee. Given that he's (I believe) 68, he might have decided that this was a good time to retire. (My last employer - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Environmental Modeling Center - started the "quiet fire" process for me when I was a mere 63).

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3 hours ago, Mothrafairy0912 said:

No news yet and I live in the area and am very involved in the dance community.  My guess is that this departure was a bit unexpected, and that the company is in process of searching/interviewing a new AD.

That makes sense.  I am more engaged with students/trainees who are interested in TWSB and wondering if the school/PTP will undergo much of a change with a new AD or if Julie is taking any teachers with her to Houston.  

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On 2/22/2023 at 1:16 PM, Mothrafairy0912 said:

The school went through a huge upheaval when JK came here.  It's hard to say whether or not that will happen this time, but I would say the tone of the school generally changes with a new company AD.

Though Julie Kent will be a co-AD and the other co-AD will be the current AD, who may have some loyalty to the current staff.

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On 2/23/2023 at 1:50 PM, YouOverThere said:

Though Julie Kent will be a co-AD and the other co-AD will be the current AD, who may have some loyalty to the current staff.

Yes, but I was referring to TWSB, wondering if Julie will take the teachers she brought with her from ABT to Houston.  I assume whoever the new AD is at TWB wants his/her own people.  

And does anyone think its a bit strange she is going to be co-AD?  Sure Houston is bigger, but I wonder if its an acknowledgment that she needs more experience in the non-artistic parts of being an AD (courting donors, attracting big name guests etc.)

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