Julian MacKay was born in Livingston ,Montana, into a classical ballet family. He trained on scholarship by the age of 9 in New York City at the American Ballet Theatre and also during the summers at The Royal Ballet School London and Academy Princess Grace in Monaco. At the age of 11 he left rural Montana to train at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow, Russia. Upon graduating he became the first American to receive a full Russian Diploma, having completed both the upper and lower school.
While in the Academy he medaled in five consecutive international ballet competitions, including the Prix de Lausanne and Gold medals at the Istanbul IBC and YAGP along with his history making Bronze at Sochi Young Ballet of the World and the Beijing International Ballet Competition. While still in school, at age 17, he made his professional debut as Siegfried in Swan Lake with the Russian State Ballet in Berlin. Graduating top of his class he was hailed as a young "Apollo" by Russian dance critics, dancing numerous roles on the Bolshoi stage. At 17 Julian joined The Royal Ballet in London, as their youngest member and 2016 Prix de Lausanne prize winner. Eight months later, upon personal invitation from Mikhail Messerer, he joined The Mikhailovsky Theatre, St. Petersburg as a Second Soloist.
By 19 years old, MacKay was promoted to First Soloist after a thrilling performance in Flames of Paris, and has danced numerous principal roles worldwide. At the height of his time at the Mikhailovsky Theatre he became an international guest artist, now invited to perform around the world – London, Tokyo, New York, Moscow, Shanghai, and more. From 2020 to 2022 he was Principal with the San Francisco Ballet under the direction of Helgi Thomasson. Julian is fluent in Russian and has his Bachelors Degree as a Ballet Master and Choreographer from the prestigious GITIS University (Russian Institute of Theatre Arts), in Moscow, Russia. From the 2022-23 season he will dance as Principal with the Bayerisches Staatsballett.