A publication of FreedUSA.com Volume 3 Number 1 
Final Bows 
by Ted Cohen
Three great ladies of the ballet world have turned in their pointe shoes and taken their last curtain calls. This esteemed and exclusive trio of ballerinas are as famous as the dances they have originated and performed to sold-out theaters throughout the world, and are synonymous with the companies they have danced for over the majority of their careers.
Patricia Barker
Principal Dancer of Pacific Northwest Ballet just celebrated her 26th season with PNB, retiring at the age of 44. Barker has been a principal dancer for two decades, a member of the company for 25 years and was previously a student at its school. Ms. Barker estimates that she has worn approximately 4,680 pairs of pointe shoes during her long and rewarding career.
Born in Richland, Washington, Patricia took her first ballet class at age 7. Her teacher, Lynne Williams, a former soloist with Boston Ballet, sent 15 year-old Barker to New England to study on scholarship at Boston Ballet School. The distance proved too much for her and, by next summer, the teenage Patricia returned to study at PNB. Barker joined the company as an apprentice in 1981, and was promoted to the corps de ballet in 1982 where she landed her first major role as Rose, the lead in the "Waltz of the Flowers" in "Nutcracker." In 1984 she became a soloist, and in 1986 at age 23, a principal dancer.
During the past 26 years, she has performed with PNB on tour throughout Europe, Asia, Australia and North America and has appeared as a guest artist with domestic and foreign ballet companies. For the past 15 years, she has staged, rehearsed and coached ballets for professional companies including the Boston Ballet School and the Slovak National Ballet. She is a faculty member of the Pacific Northwest Ballet School and has been a guest teacher at several noted ballet schools. To help raise awareness of bone and joint health, Ms. Barker became a spokeswoman for the U.S. Bone and Joint Decade.
Ms. Barker's has made numerous national and international guest performances with noted ballet troupes. Her image has graced the covers of many dance magazines. Patricia's career highlights include performing the lead role of Clara in the 1994 film version of PNB's "Nutcracker: The Motion Picture", and in 1999, performed the role of Titania in the BBC film version of PNB's production of Balanchine's "A Midsummer Night's Dream." For over 20 years, Barker has danced the dual role of Odette/Odile in "Swan Lake."
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