Houston Ballet Announces First-Ever Co-Artistic Director

Julie Kent (photo by Jayme Thornton, courtesy of The Washington Ballet)

THE BELOVED STANTON Welch of the Houston Ballet officially has a new counterpart in Julie Kent, named the company's first-ever co-artistic director today.


The longest-serving ballerina in American Ballet Theatre, Kent arrives in Houston in July 2023 from DC, where she currently serves as the artistic director of The Washington Ballet. She's been there since 2016, and in that time has commissioned 26 world premieres by 17 different choreographers.

"Not only is Julie Kent ballet royalty and immensely talented—both as a dancer, coach, stager and teacher — but there is no one I would rather have as a partner to bring Houston Ballet into this next chapter,” said Welch in a statement. He previously worked with Kent during her time at American Ballet Theatre, when she danced in his productions Clear and Carmina Burana. “I very much look forward to what will be a highly collaborative experience that will only elevate what Houston Ballet can achieve, both artistically and as an organization.”

Kent and her husband, Victor Barbee, who is The Washington Ballet's Associate Artistic Director, have two children, and have also created important works together. (Their staging of The Sleeping Beauty was described by the New York Times as “one of the world’s finer Sleeping Beauties.”) They will relocate to Houston together next summer.

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