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Allegra Kent

Adjunct Professor, Barnard College - Columbia University

Allegra KentAllegra Kent was born in Santa Monica, California and began her dance education at age nine with folk dance classes at the boarding school she attended. She moved to New York to begin studying at the School of American Ballet. After an apprenticeship she joined the New York City Ballet as a member of the corp. Kent danced her first featured role in the Viola pas de deux in Jerome Robbins’s Fanfare, in January 1954; her first created role, in The Unanswered Question section of George Balanchine’s Ivesiana, was performed later that year. In 1956, the year she became a soloist, she created one of the five ballerina roles in Balanchine’s Divertimento No. 15. In 1957 she became a principal dancer and also danced in the Broadway musical Shinbone Alley. Other roles that Kent created in Balanchine ballets included one of the ensemble women in Agon(1957), the baton-twirling leader of the first regiment in Stars and Stripes (1958), the dancing Anna in the revival of The Seven Deadly Sins (1958), the Concerto (op.24) inEpisodes (1959) the principal woman in Bugaku (1963), and the Andante of Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet (1966). She is associated especially with the title role in La Sonnambula, which she first danced in the ballet’s 1960 revival. She was in the first cast of Robbin’s Dances at a Gathering (1969), and other roles for which she is noted include the Girl in Afternoon of a Faun, Odette in Balanchine’s one act version of Swan Lake, the Sugarplum Fairy in The Nutcracker, the pas de deux in Agon, and many more. Her last appearances were in 1981 in John Taras’s Variation VI from Trip in A Minor, a section of his Tempo de Valse. Ms. Kent pursued her entire career with the New York City Ballet, performing with it-except for five leaves of absence-over a period of almost thirty years. Ms. Kent is also the author of an autobiography (1997) and of Allegra Kent’s Water Beauty Book (1976) , which details an exercise program she developed that uses water as the source of resistance.