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Julio Bocca: 1967—: Ballet Dancer

Danced For Argentina

Though Bocca was a principal dancer with ABT, he enjoyed a lenient contract that allowed him to perform as a guest artists with other companies. He was much in demand and thrilled audiences at La Scala in Milan, the Paris Opera, the Kirov of Saint Petersburg, the Royal Danish Ballet, and the National Ballet of Madrid. A performance with the Royal Ballet in London prompted a reviewer with Dance Magazine to rave about "his irresistible combination of passion and gallantry." He even fulfilled his teenage dream by dancing a season with the Bolshoi Ballet. Bocca also regularly performed in his beloved Argentina. Each time he arrived he was treated like a superstar—his face plastered on buses and billboards, fans clamoring for autographs, and paparazzi following his every move.

Whenever he returned, Bocca was determined to share ballet with everyone. "Most poor Argentines never saw ballet," he told Harper's Bazaar. "Ballet was for rich people—what we call gente bien." Bocca resolved that by performing free shows on the wide avenues of Buenos Aires. Tens of thousands attended, millions more watched on television. Ballet, once relegated to Buenos Aires's gilded Colon Theater, was suddenly being talked about by peasants and schoolchildren, in barrooms and markets throughout the country.

In 1990 despite his busy schedule, Bocca brought together some of Argentina's most promising young dancers and formed Ballet Argentino. It was his gift to Argentina. "It is for my country's future," he told Harper's Bazaar. He is so committed to the project that he often pays out of his own pocket for the company's expenses. "I lose money all the time, but I don't care," he told Dance Magazine. His grand hope for the company was two-fold: to share ballet with Argentineans of all backgrounds and, as he told The Independent, "To show that we've got dancers in Argentina. To show we have something else besides footballers and Evita." In the decade since its inception, Ballet Argentino has done just that, wowing audiences from Australia to China to Italy, and of course, back home in Argentina. Critics have been adoring of the company's repertoire which is an eclectic mix of classical ballet, contemporary dance, and Argentina's beloved tango. The San Francisco Chronicle wrote, "The young Buenos Aires company is one of the most exciting in the world." Bocca built a state-of-the-art studio to house his company and at first brought in teachers from the Colon Theater. "But I found that I liked to be a real director, and to coach and teach," he explained to The Independent. When not performing with ABT, Bocca served as mentor to his young dancers who reveled in his every word and each of his precise movements.

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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