The Washington Ballet: The Sleeping Beauty

One thing Kent probably doesn’t have to worry about is having a star on board whose talent and charm will draw an audience. Kent definitely has that now with the recent addition of petite powerhouse Katherine Barkman, a 22-year-old native of Bucks County, Philadelphia, who is picture perfect in roles like Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty. Due to her age, Barkman doesn’t need to act to seem young. Yet her acting is impeccable. As Princess Aurora, she displayed just the right combination of sweetness, fortitude, and joy.

The Washington Ballet awakens with a lavish, triumphant ‘Sleeping Beauty’

Barkman, a Philadelphia native who joined the company last fall, is a jewel of a ballerina, with her pure, effortless technique and easy charm. It’s said that when the great British ballerina Margot Fonteyn danced Aurora in New York in 1949, leading the modest yet spunky precursor to the Royal Ballet, she solidified the entire reputation of English ballet with her miraculous balances. Without drawing a direct comparison to that moment and that legend, let’s just say that Barkman is similarly dark-eyed and petite, with a clean, classical line to her body. But most of all it is her ebullient warmth, buoyed by fluid skill and an utter absence of affectation, that brings greatness to mind.

For Katherine Barkman, Falling Onstage Led to Her Latest Job Offer

Katherine Barkman's career reads like a storybook: At 18, she left Pennsylvania and moved to the Philippines to become a principal at Ballet Manila. She danced Juliet, Giselle, Odette/Odile and Kitri, but three years in, it was time for new challenges. Late last year, Barkman joined The Washington Ballet, bringing her scintillating, pure Vaganova technique and her warm stage persona to U.S. audiences.

The Making of a Ballerina

A short film about Katherine's journey as a young ballerina.

Katherine Barkman’s brave new world

For this ballerina, the medals she has won symbolize a new beginning which she is embracing whole-heartedly. “Through both competitions, no matter what I faced, I left fear in the backseat and took charge of my destiny. This was my last time competing and the closing of a door but the opening of a much bigger, brighter and more daring chapter. I am filled with excitement, inspiration, humility, and gratitude. It is a key to unlocking a new level and a new door of my journey – to delight, inspire and uplift the audience through my dancing.”

It takes two to dance ballet

Under Ms. Macuja-Elizalde’s tutelage, Ms. Barkman bagged the silver medal at the USA-Jackson Mississippi International Ballet Competition (IBC) in June, and just a month later she competed in the Varna IBC in Bulgaria and placed second in the senior women’s category, making her the only ballerina to win consecutive medals in international competitions during their current competition cycle.

Varna prize-winning Katherine Barkman is a dancer in a hurry

Katherine Barkman, Ballet Manila’s (BM) American import, won the silver medal in the women’s senior category in Varna, the Olympiad of dance held in Bulgaria after which other dance competitions have been patterned. As a professional competition, Varna’s standards are stringent. No less than Varna jury president, Vladimir Vasiliev, dubbed as “God of Dance” during his Bolshoi Ballet days, congratulated Barkman.
A few weeks earlier, Barkman shared a silver medal with a dancer from Korea at the USA International Ballet Competition (IBC) in Jackson, Mississippi.

This dancer carries the soul of an artist to the Jackson IBC

Ballet Mississippi’s David Keary, director of the 2018 IBC’s International Dance School, describes Barkman as a “beautiful … really stunning” dancer. Sizzling dance pyrotechnics and exquisite technique may grab eyes, but another key quality grabs hearts, he says. “She’s got the soul of an artist at this young age,” reminding him of the lessons instilled in him early as a young dancer in the Jackson Ballet, studying with Thalia Mara, IBC founder. It’s rare to see such artistry in someone so young, he says. Barkman’s career is one “I think we’re going to be watching for a long time.”

Ballet Manila's Katherine Barkman on Moving From Pennsylvania to the Philippines at 18

At age 18, Katherine Barkman packed her bags to move nearly halfway around the world after receiving an email from Ballet Manila's artistic director Lisa Macuja-Elizalde.

Cultures clash dazzlingly in Ballet Manila’s ‘Don Quixote’

Ballet Manila’s (BM) American “import” Katherine Barkman is cast against type as Kitri in the company’s season ender, “Don Quixote.” She’s determined to nail her role nonetheless.

RP Artist Katherine Barkman Staying Strong

RP Artist Katherine Barkman is a principal dancer with Ballet Manila. In this continuation of her interview with Russian Pointe, she talks about staying strong, well and confident.


RP Artist Katherine Barkman is a principal dancer with Ballet Manila. In her first interview with Russian Pointe, she talks about discovering ballet and developing as a professional, and how Russian Pointe supports her every day.

Ballet Manila’s ‘Swan Lake’: Formidable technique, but refreshing perspective needed

Ballet Manila’s (BM) “Swan Lake” got a standing ovation during gala night. The production was a spectacle with a clear character arc defined by principal Katherine Barkman; the corps de ballet was a vision of symmetry.