Zachary Hench, Artistic Director
Originally from Loysville, Pennsylvania, Mr. Hench began his training at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet where he studied for eight years. He attended summer intensives at the School of American Ballet in New York and completed his pre-professional education at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington D.C. Mr. Hench danced as a principal with Boston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and Pennsylvania Ballet. Over the course of his 22 year career, he performed leading roles in ballets such as Swan Lake, Giselle, Le Corsaire, La Sylphide, Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella, and La Fille mal gardée. His extensive neoclassical and contemporary repertoire included works by George Balanchine, William Forsythe, and Nacho Duato, among many others. Mr. Hench originated roles in ballets by choreographers such as Christopher Wheeldon, Twyla Tharp, and Helgi Tomasson, and performed throughout the world as a guest artist. He has coached students for performances and competitions, and has been invited to teach master classes and summer intensives across the country.
Mr. Hench served as a union delegate while dancing at Pennsylvania Ballet, facilitating communication between dancers and management and representing his colleagues during contract negotiations. The company then invited Mr. Hench to join the artistic staff as Ballet Master, and he successfully led the organization through a critical period of internal transitions. Mr. Hench now leads JDT as Artistic Director. He is married to Julie Diana, JDT’s Executive Director, with whom he has two children.
Julie Diana, Executive Advisor
Ms. Diana started dancing at the New Jersey School of Ballet and continued her studies at the School of American Ballet in New York. She danced as a principal with San Francisco Ballet and Pennsylvania Ballet, performing lead roles in classical repertoire such as La Sylphide, Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake, Giselle, and The Sleeping Beauty. She has worked with choreographers such as Christopher Wheeldon, William Forsythe, and Mark Morris, among others, and appeared as a guest artist with New York City Ballet and several international touring groups. Ms. Diana participated in a dancer exchange with the Royal Ballet in London, and was coached by such artists as Lynn Seymour and Sir Anthony Dowell. She has been a guest teacher at many renowned ballet schools, worked as a private coach and as Ballet Master at Pennsylvania Ballet.
Ms. Diana has earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Pennsylvania and served as President of the University of Pennsylvania’s Association of Alumnae. During her presidency, Ms. Diana fundraised for student scholarships, organized educational events, and worked to restructure board committees in an effort to better achieve the association’s mission. She continues to research and write for various dance publications such as Dance, Dance Spirit, and Pointe, and has been named Contributing Editor at Dance Teacher magazine. Ms. Diana is married to JDT Artistic Director Zachary Hench, with whom she has two children.