Born in Fort Worth, Texas, Ms. Barfield began her training in Ft. Worth with Gayle Corkery and continued at the Etgen Atkinson School in Dallas. At the age of 14, she began studying during the summers at the School of American Ballet in New York City and by the age of 16, she moved there to study exclusively. Ms. Barfield joined the Pennsylvania Ballet in 1984, was promoted to Soloist in 1987 and to Principal in 1990. Her repertoire includes a wide variety of classical roles including Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, Myrtha in Giselle, Vera in Robert Weiss’ full-length production of Winder Dreams, Les Sylphides, the title role in Ben Stevenson’s Cinderella and Juliet in John Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet. She has also performed principal roles in Peter Martins’ Fearful Symmetries, Petipa’s Paquita and Don Quixote. Ms. Barfield has performed leading roles in numerous Balanchine ballets such as The Nutcracker, where she performs as Dewdrop and the Sugarplum Fairy, Who Cares?, Allegro Brilliante, Agon, The Steadfast Tin Soldier, The Four Temperaments, Serenade, Western Symphony, Divertimento No. 15, Donizetti Variations, Concerto Barocco, Tchaikovsky’s Pas de Duex and as Odette in Swan Lake, Act II.
Additionally, Ms. Barfield has originated roles in Christopher d’ Amboise’s The Golden Mean and Franklin Court. She also danced in such diverse pieces as Merce Cunningham’s Arcade, Lynne Taylor-Corbett’s Great Galloping Gottschalk, Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux’s Menage a Quatre and William Forsythe’s Love Songs. In September, 1992, Ms. Barfield was one of the six dancers from Pennsylvania Ballet to appear at the Second International Arts Festival in Tianjin, China, as a representative of The City of Philadelphia. Her favorite role however is a mother to her beautiful son, Sklar Barfield Blanchard, born to her and her husband, John (a former modern dancer) on November 3, 1999.
On June 12, 2004, she gave her last performance as a professional dancer in her favorite role of Odette/Odile in Christopher Whealdon’s Swan Lake. Clive Barnes commented on her last performance by saying, “The best of the three main cast…a beautiful professional, Dede Barfield.” Since leaving the Pennsylvania Ballet, Ms. Barfield has been busy teaching at Bryn Mawr College, The Performance Garage at Jeanne Ruddy Dance, The South Jersey Ballet School and with the Pennsylvania Ballet’s Outreach Program. She has been a guest teacher for the Chamberlain Ballet in Plano, Texas, the Country Day School in Ft. Worth, the Brandywine Ballet and the Dance Theater of Pennsylvania. Ms. Barfield also taught ballet classes at the University of Las Vegas during the 2007 Spring semester.
In addition to Ms. Barfield’s extensive ballet training and experience, she has studied Pilates since 1979 and in recent years completed a 2-year advanced teacher training seminar with her mentor of 20 years, Karen Carlson. She is certified in all apparatuses and mat. Ms. Barfield is currently an instructor for the Conservatory Company at the Ballet Conservatory of South Texas. This is Ms. Barfield’s first season with Ballet San Antonio.