Obituary | Gwenn Barker-Harsh

Gwenn Barker-Harsh, former ballet corps de ballet member, soloist and teacher who drew upon her professional experience in the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo company to cultivate interest in ballet in the Seattle area, died in Bellevue on March 22.

Over a period of 32 years, Barker-Harsh taught many students who went on to have professional careers and become teachers themselves.

From 1965 to 1978 she owned and directed the Bellevue Ballet School and Bellevue-Redmond Ballet School. She subsequently directed the Preparatory Dance Division at Cornish School of the Arts, where she taught the RAD, or English method of dance instruction to her students.

She founded the Bellevue Civic Ballet, which was warmly received by audiences at the Pacific Regional Ballet Festival at Seattle Center Opera House in 1974.

Barker-Harsh’s dance training began in London. Her education continued after her family moved to Bainbridge Island. Gwenn rode the ferry from Bainbridge Island to downtown Seattle to study with teachers Ilaria and Marian Ladre, also alumni of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo.

Roy Harsh was a soloist and toured with the company from 1956 to 1959, riding with Gwenn as her seat-mate on the bus. Sitting together gave them ample opportunity to get to know each other and fall in love.

She is survived by her husband Roy Harsh; brother, Chrstopher Barker; and sister, Ann Barker Holland.