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Julio Bocca: 1967—: Ballet Dancer

Began Dancing At Four

Julio Bocca was born on March 6, 1967, in the small town of Munro, Argentina. Not far from Buenos Aires, Munro was a typical barrio—dusty, crowded, and terribly poor. His single mother, Nancy, taught ballet in a small studio at the back of the home she shared with her Italian-born parents. His father refused to acknowledge Bocca as his son and died when Bocca was in his teens. Despite this painful rebuff, Bocca was surrounded by the love of his close-knit maternal family.

Like most of their neighbors the Boccas were very poor. However, Bocca's grandfather was a firm believer in the power of the arts and worked long hours as a laborer to buy a piano for the family. His grandmother was equally committed, spending hours sewing young Bocca's first dancing outfits. Given this environment it is not surprising that Bocca began dancing at the age of four. By eight he was hooked and to his family's pleasure he announced that he wanted to be a dancer. His mother promptly enrolled him in the Instituto Superior de Arte in the magnificent Colon Theater of Buenos Aires, Argentina's premier ballet school.

At a Glance . . .

Born on March 6, 1967, in Munro, Argentina; son of Nancy Bocca ( a ballet teacher). Education: Instituto Superior de Arte, Colon Theater, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1975-85.

Career: Ballet Fundación Teresa Carreno, Caracas, Venazuela, dancer, 1982; Ballet del Teatro Municipal de Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, principal dancer, 1983-84; Corps de Ballet, Colon Theater, Buenos Aires, principal dancer, 1985–; American Ballet Theatre, New York, NY, principal dancer, 1986–; Ballet Argentino, founder, choreographer, dancer, 1990–; Actor, Tango, Sony Pictures, 1999.

Awards: Gold Medal, Fifth International Ballet Competition, Moscow, 1985.

The round-trip train ride to Colon school took over three hours, but Bocca didn't mind. According to Americas, "Even as a small child he adored the Colon, and he was thrilled to be part of its ballet tradition, the oldest in Latin America." He soon proved himself a natural talent. Ballerina Eleonora Cassano who trained with Bocca as a child and later joined with him in Ballet Argentino recalled being amazed by his early talent. She told Dance Magazine, "He could do things that other little boys could not." However, Bocca was shy and unsure of his talent. At 13 he began to keep a diary and wrote wistfully of dancing with Russia's famous Bolshoi Ballet. At the time he could not imagine it would ever happen.

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: Shennen Bersani (1961-) Biography - Personal to Mark Burgess Biography - PersonalJulio Bocca: 1967—: Ballet Dancer Biography - Began Dancing At Four, Soared Onto The International Stage, Danced For Argentina, Approached Future By Taking On Challenges