Artistic Director, The Washington Ballet
Former Principal Dancer, American Ballet Theatre
Prize Winner, Prix de Lausanne 1986
Jury Member, Prix de Lausanne 2023
The Prix de Lausanne will forever hold a special place in my heart… it was a transformative experience to be amongst dancers my age from all over the world: New Zealand, (former) East Germany, Japan, The Netherlands, UK just to name a few! I remember learning so much, so quickly, processing many details amidst the amazing talent. I remain grateful to the U.S. “Friends of the Prix de Lausanne” whose sponsorship made my participation possible, as well as to the entire community of the competition who continues to contribute immeasurably to our global artistic landscape! I am deeply grateful to those whose efforts have sustained the Prix de Lausanne for the past 50 years, as well as to the artists who have been a part of its history and have gone on to serve this art form with love, generosity, devotion and noble purpose.
My advice to the candidates is to absorb all you can and enjoy! Approach every moment as a learning experience, as opposed to a competition. And, don’t lose your sense of humour! In the end, everybody “wins” from the amazing and unforgettable experience that you share.
Julie Kent, Artistic Director of The Washington Ballet since July 2016, is the longest serving Ballerina in American Ballet Theatre’s 82-year history, where from 1986-2015 she danced the entire repertoire of classical and neo-classical roles and had countless new works created for her by renowned choreographers.
She also performed globally as an international Guest Artist with the Mariinsky Theatre, Teatro alla Scala, New York City Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, Berlin Staatsballett, Australian Ballet, Bayerisches Staatsballett, Teatro Colon, Ballet de Santiago and Tokyo Ballet and starred in the films Dancers (1987) and Centerstage (2000).
Ms. Kent has won numerous awards: Prix de Lausanne (1986), Erik Bruhn Prize (1993), was the first American ever to win Prix Benois de la Danse (2000), an Honorary Doctorate of Performing Arts from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (2012) and a “Lifetime Achievement Award” from Dance Magazine (2012).
Since 2016, she has commissioned for The Washington Ballet 26 world premieres by 17 different choreographers and mounted critically acclaimed full-length productions of Giselle and Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake.
In the end of the 2022-2023 season, Ms. Kent is leaving The Washington Ballet to become a Co-Artistic Director of The Houston Ballet.
Ms. Kent is committed to advocating for arts education, creating opportunities for new choreographic voices and nurturing future generations of artists from a wide spectrum of races and cultures.
She has been married to former ABT Principal Dancer and Associate Artistic Director Victor Barbee for 26 years and they have 2 children.