Whitney Ingram

Revisiting Julie Kent's Dance Bag, 20 Years Later

Julie Kent was our very first Show & Tell when Pointe magazine launched in spring of 2000. Then a principal with American Ballet Theatre, Kent carried a second bag entirely dedicated to her pointe shoes. Twenty years later, she is now the artistic director of The Washington Ballet, and no longer needs to tote her pointe shoes. "For 40 years they were like a part of my body," says Kent. "And now they're not part of the landscape until my daughter's old enough to go on pointe." Nevertheless, Kent's current role keeps her in the studio. She always carries practice clothes and ballet slippers for teaching and rehearsals.


The contents of Julie Kent's dance bag, laid out geometrically on a dance studio floor

Whitney Ingram

Kent's dance bag is a reflection of the way she balances her professional and personal lives. Notebooks and sample TWB merchandise brush up against her daughter's ballet slippers and a program from her son's recent Episcopal confirmation. "I'm not only no longer a professional performer, but I'm a mother of two people that are old enough to have very busy lives," says Kent. "And I have the responsibility of a huge organization. That expands the spectrum of things that are in your bag!"

The Goods

Julia Kent in a red sweater, jeans and tiger print boots poses in a dance studio behind the contents of her bag. Photo is taken from above.

Whitney Ingram

Clockwise from top left: Reading glasses, wallet, iPhone, Tod's makeup bag, sunglasses and case, Tod's bag ("This was a gift from Anya Cole, the founder of Hania New York. She's like my fairy godmother, and I've been her brand ambassador for years"), Aquaphor lotion, Nutcracker badge for backstage access, choreographic notebook, Degas exhibit papers ("The National Gallery recently opened a big exhibit on Degas, and I recorded part of the oral description for the listening devices"), Nutcracker playbill, reading glasses, good-luck charms ("Friedemann Vogel from the Stuttgart Ballet gave me the four-leaf clover before I won the Benois de la Danse in 2000, and I've carried it with me ever since"), business-card holder, Sansha ballet slippers, Japanese fan, 10-year-old daughter Josephine's Capezio ballet slippers, perfume, legwarmers ("TWB dancer Brittany Stone knit me these. She knows I like ballerina pink"), gold necklaces ("Marcelo Gomes gave these to me for my farewell at ABT. They have my children's initials, and I wear them all the time"), pocket mirror, TWB sample scarf, waste bags for dog Winky, wrap skirt ("Gemma Bond made that for me many years ago").

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The dance community's response to the death of George Floyd was immediate and sweeping on social media. Dance artists, including Desmond Richardson and Martha Nichols, used their social platforms to make meaningful statements about racial inequality. Theresa Ruth Howard's leadership spurred ballet companies including Dance Theatre of Harlem, American Ballet Theatre, and New York City Ballet to pledge #BalletRelevesForBlackLives. Among the most vocal supporters have been dance students, who continue to share the faces and gut-wrenching last words of Black men and women who have died in police custody on their Instagram feeds and Stories.

The work we're doing on social media as a community is important and necessary—and we should keep at it. But now, that momentum must also carry us into taking action. Because to be a true ally, action is required.

A responsible ally amplifies Black voices­­. They choose to listen rather than speak. And they willingly throw their support, and, if they can, their dollars, behind Black dancers and Black dance organizations. Here are some ways you can do your part.

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Class of 2020, These Ballet Stars Have a Heartfelt Video Message Just for You

Congratulations to this year's graduating seniors!

You might not have had the chance to take that long planned-for final bow, but we're here to cheer you on and celebrate all that you've accomplished. And we've brought together stars from across the ballet world to help us; check out the video to hear their best wishes for your futures.

To further fête all of the ballet grads out there, we're also giving away 100 free subscriptions to Pointe... plus, one lucky bunhead will receive a personalized message from one of ballet's biggest stars. Click here to enter!


Tulsa Ballet in Ma Cong's Tchaikovsky: The Man Behind the Music. Kate Luber Photography, Courtesy Tulsa Ballet.

Updated: Mark Your Calendars for These Online Ballet Performances

Updated on 5/27/2020

Since COVID-19 has forced ballet companies around the world to cancel performances—and even the remainder of their seasons—many are keeping their audiences engaged by streaming or posting pre-recorded performances onto their websites or social media channels. To help keep you inspired during these challenging times, we've put together a list of upcoming streaming events and digital performances.

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