Julio Bocca

Julio Bocca was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He began his studies at the age of four under his mother’s guidance, a dancer and a teacher. In 1973, he was accepted as a member of the National Ballet School in Buenos Aires, Argentina. There, his teachers included Luisa Lemos , Gloria Kazda, José Parés and Ninel Julttyeva. Additional teachers included Maggy Black, Lidia Segni and Wilhelm Burmann he’s teacher for more the 21 years. Interest as a child prodigy, entered to the company of Ballet of Camera of the Teatro Colón in 1981 and a year later danced as soloist in a ballet directed by Flemming Flindt.

Julio Bocca‘s professional career began in 1982 as a principal dancer with the Teresa Carreño Foundation in Venezuela and a year later at the Teatro Municipal in Río de Janeiro, Brazil. Since 1983 he performance as soloist and principal as guest in the Teatro Colon of Buenos Aires. In 1985, he won the Gold Medal at the Fifth International Ballet Competition in Moscow giving him a definitive international career. The following year, he began his twenty-year tenure with the American Ballet Theatre as principal dancer (1986-2006) and he danced every year with the Company at the seasons at the Metropolitan.

Opera House. His farewell was on June 22nd, 2006 dancing De Grieux in “Manon” with choreography of Kenneth MacMillan, with Alessandra Ferri his partner during the 20 years he danced at the American Ballet Theatre. At the same time he danced as guest artist of the world‘s top dance companies, including the Royal Ballet of London, Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow, Kirov Ballet in St. Petersburg, Teatro alla Scala in Milan, English National Ballet, Zarzuela Theatre of Madrid, Royal Danish Ballet of Denmark, Opera Ballet in Oslo, Stuttgart Ballet, Opera Ballet in Paris, Tokyo Ballet, Ballet National from Cuba, National Ballet of Teatro Municipal of Santiago, Chile, Ballet Nuevo Mundo in Venezuela, Mexico National Ballet, National Ballet from Cairo, made an important tour with National Ballet of Spain under the director of Maya Plisétskaya and Ballet from Teatro Municipal General San Martín in Buenos Aires, Argentina. At the Ballet from Teatro Colón of Buenos Aires special works were created for him. His partners have included Natalia Makarova, Nina Ananiashvili, Eleonora Cassano, Alessandra Ferri, Cecilia Figaredo, Carla Fracci, Cynthia Gregory, Cynthia Harvey, Paloma Herrera, Susan Jaffe, Julie Kent, Amanda McKerrow, Noelle Pontois, Raquel Rossetti, Tamara Rojo, Viviana Durante, Heidi Ryon , Darcey Bussell, Sara Nieto, Silvia Bazilis, Cristina Delmagro, Ana Botafogo, Monique Loudières, Ludmila Semeniaka, Cecilia Kerche, Aurélie Dupont, Cheryl Yeager, Mariana Tcherkassky, Arantxa Argüelles , Maria Ricceto.

For the opening of the Opera Theatre of Helsinki, Julio Bocca was invited to be a featured performer. He has also performed in Poland, the Philippines, Greece and Japan, as well as the most important summer festivals in Europe and the annual International Ballet Festival of Havana, Cuba. In 1988 he took part at the film “Tango, Baile nuestro” by Jorge Zanada. That same year he founded his own dance company, Ballet Argentino, and toured throughout the world. Prima ballerina Eleonora Cassano joined many of these tours. Ballet Argentino was the first foreign company to perform at the Hermitage Palace in St. Petersburg. In 1992, he danced with Eleonora Cassano in “Bestiario” by Oscar Aráiz and music by the Spanish Jerónimo Maesso, at the Zarzuela Theatre in Madrid, Spain, with the Contemporary Ballet from

Teatro Municipal San Martín of Buenos Aires, directed by Oscar Aráiz. Same year, he performed in Rio de Janeiro for Eco World in special evening, together with Placio Domingo, as well as with the Washington Orchestra conducted by Mstislav Rostropovich and violinist Isaac Stern. In Argentina, Julio Bocca has performed in outdoor venues and football stadiums, attracting thousands of people. He has also performed at Luna Park – a 5.000 seats venue, over 140 times. At Luna Park he premiered most of his productions, including “Birdy” by Jean Pierre Aviotte, “Kuarahy” by Julio López, “La Consagración del Tango” by Ana María Stekelman and “Bocca Rock Nacional”. Julio Bocca inaugurated his own dance studio and assumed direction of the Ballet Argentino in 1997. The following year he founded the Musical Theater School together with choreographer and director Ricky Pashkus, who resigned his position in 2012. In 1998 he took part in film “Tango” conducted by Carlos Saura.In 1999, he performed with Ballet Argentino in Israel, Greece, Bangkok and Singapore. The shows in Singapore were part of the festival commemorating the birthday of the King of Thailand. As part of the Millennium Day celebrations in Ushuaia, Argentina, on December 31st, 1999, Julio Bocca‘s danced representing Argentina with Eleonora Cassano and was broadcasted simultaneously to over sixty networks throughout the world. He was asked by the Red Cross and UNICEF of Argentina, to perform two separate advertising campaigns in support of the two institutions. UNICEF, named him as its Ambassador. In February 2000, he was engaged to perform Fosse and tour the US with Ballet Argentino, including their third presentation at the New York City Center. In 2001, he premiered “Boccatango” by Ana María Stekelman in Teatro Maipo, Buenos Aires, Argentina; work featured live orchestra and singers.

In January 2002, Julio Bocca created a ballet for the opera “Henry VIII” by Camille Saint-Saens as part of a tribute to Montserrat Caballé at Teatro Liceo, in Barcelona. Both Caballé and Bocca performed this new work. Then in February of that same year, Julio Bocca and Ballet Argentino performed at the London’s Peacock Theatre. Julio Bocca and Ballet Argentino performed at the Teatro Opera in Buenos Aires, in October 2003, where they premiered works “The River” by Alvin Ailey, “Repercusiones” and “Macbeth” by Ana María Stekelman. In “Una vez un baúl” a clown solo specially created for Julio Bocca by Argentine actor and director Claudio Gallardou, he additionally showcased his dramatic abilities. In January 2004, Julio Bocca performed in China, at the Great People‘s Hall with Rosana Pérez for the closing ceremony of the first international Ballet Festival in honor of the 100th anniversary of George Balanchine‘s birth.Bocca also premiered and toured “The Man in the Red Tie” with script by Elio Marchi, based on the novel by Natalia Kohen and choreographed by Ana María Stekelman.

In April 2004, he was part of the Benois de la Danse Gala, which honors international artists who were awarded the Benois de la Danse Prize. In 2005, he danced “Romeo and Juliette” for the last time with Alessandra Ferri and for American Ballet Theatre. He premiered “Boccatango” in Europe at the Teatro Sistina in Rome to sold-out audiences. The tour also visited Barcelona, Madrid, Limassol and Lyon. Paloma San Basilio was a collaborative guest singer for “Balada para un loco” by Astor Piazzolla and Horacio Ferrer, in Barcelona. In February 2005, Julio Bocca performed “Russian Hamlet” (Beethoven / Mahler) at the Mariinksy Theatre as a guest artist with the Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg. They later performed the same ballet at the Luna Park Stadium of Buenos Aires, in May 2005. Also in May 2005, Julio Bocca danced “Don Quixote” with American Ballet Theatre for the last time. In August of the same year, he participated at the Bournonville Gala in Royal Theater of Copenhagen, Denmark. In 2006, he performed with Tamara Rojo at Teatro Albéniz in Madrid and toured “Boccatango” in the United States. The closing of the Argentine season of 2006 consisted of a national tour and the worldwide premiere of “Adiós Hermano Cruel” a full-length ballet written by Elio Marchi, on music set by Lito Vitale and choreographed by Ana María Stekelman. Julio Bocca also staged “Manon” in Buenos Aires with Alessandra Ferri and the Ballet from Santiago, Chile. His definitive retirement from dance was made in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on December 22, 2007, next to the emblematic obelisk in the city, and in front of over 300.000 people. The amount of people who gathered, what was expected, requested giant screens along Avenida 9 de Julio, so that everybody may see the representation. Bocca was accompanied by his Ballet Argentino and many Argentine and foreign artists, notable dancers, musicians and singers who were invited to be part of the friends who accompanied him on stage, such as Maximiliano Guerra, Eleonora Cassano, Cecilia Figaredo, Tamara Rojo, Nina Ananiashvili, José Carreño, Manuel Legris, Tangokinesis -company created and directed by Ana María Stekelman, Mercedes Sosa, Carlos “la Mona” Jiménez , Lito Vitale and his group, Diego Torres, the Orchestra of Julián Vat, Sandra Mihanovich and Antigua Jazz Band. This perform was recorded and transmitted by a channel of Argentina. In 2008 he participated in the “Special of the Earth” by National Geographic. He was also jury in the 2008 Prize Benois de la Danse in Russia and the Rome Prize in Italy. At the beginning of 2010, he was invited by the American Ballet Theatre as coach for soloists and principal dancers of the Company. When he returned to Montevideo, Uruguay, where he was living from a year ago, the President of that country, Mr. José Mujica, offered him the Artistic Direction of the National Ballet Sodre where he took position in June 2010. Since then, the Company made tours not only in Uruguay, but also in many countries of Latin America, Europe and Asia, always with great success.

In 2012, under his direction, he presented a Ballet Gala at the Teatro Real in Madrid, with ballet stars. The dancers that took place on that Gala were Eleonora Cassano, Cecilia Figaredo, Nina Ananiashvili, Christina Michanek, Marianela Núñez, Sebastian Kloborg, José Carreño, Manuel Legris, Patrick De Bana and Thiago Soares.

Julio Bocca has been jury member of many important ballet competitions apart from Benois de la Danse and Roma Award. More precisely, he was judging in Moscow, China, Korea, the Youth America Grand Prix, he was President for Prix of Lausanne and Sinaloa Dance Competition in Culiacán, México. He is President of the Julio Bocca Competition, created by the Argentine Council of Dance of Buenos Aires in 2010. After seven years directing the National Ballet of Uruguay, he has finished the engagement with successful opening of the Cannes Dance Festival, and more than 100 performances danced per year.

Today, he is freelance couch working around the world in major companies and schools.

AWARDS AND DISTINCTIONS RECEIVED

Gold Medal 5th International Concurs in Moscow, 1985.
María Ruanova Primus Inter Pairs in Argentina, 1986.
Dancer of the Year, New York Times, United States, 1987.
Knight of the Order of San Martín de Tours, Argentina, 1987.
Gino Tanni Arts Award, Italy, 1990.
Personality of the Year, France, 1990.
“Martín Fierro”, Argentine television, for best performance in a Show Musical, Argentina, 1991.
International Association of choreographers / first edition of Prix Benois de la Danse, Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow, 1992.
King David Prize of the Argentine House in Jerusalem, Israel, 1996.
Dance Magazine Award, United States, 1998.
Barocco Award, sponsored by Television Network RAI, Italy, 1998.
Celebrity of the Year Gold Prize Clarin Newspaper, Argentina, 2006.
Max Hispanoameican Award for the Performing Arts, by Sociedad General de Autores y Editores (SGAE), Bilbao, Spain, 2007.
Illustrious Citizen, appointed by the Legislature of Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2007.
Equinoccio Cultural, awarded by the Embassy of Spain in Buenos Aires, for his career and contribution to the world of dance, Argentina, 2008.
Gold Medal in the Arts, granted by the International Committee of Arts of Kennedy Center, for his achievements and dedication in the cultural exchange between Argentina and the United States of America, Argentina, 2008.
Certificate of Honor of the dance, granted by the Council International of Dance – UNESCO – for his career, Paris, 2008.
María Guerrero Award for his career, Argentina, 2008.
Tribute from the American Ballet Theatre in the “Latin Night”, United States, 2008.
Doctor Honoris Causa, Siglo XXI University of Córdoba, Argentia, 2008.
Juan Bravo Prize, in Segovia, for the performance of the Ballet Argentino, under his direction, as best dance performance, Spain, 2009.
Latin American Prize at the Ballet Gala in Asunción, Paraguay, 2009.
Culture Prize, received at the Roman Theatre of Ostia Antigua, Italy, 2010.
Ambassador Ibero-American of the Culture, awarded in Cádiz by the House of Latin America, Spain, 2012.
The Italianness award, granted by the Embassy of Italy, Argentina, 2012.
Culture Award for his career “400 years” of the National University of Córdoba, Argentina, 2014.
Award “Ibera_e” in the performing arts, awarded by the Ibero-American Television, 2014. Ariel Prize, Montevideo, Uruguay.

In 2015 the President of Uruguay, Mr. Tabaré Vázquez, handed him the Delmira Agustini Medal for his contribution to the art and culture of the country as well for his career with the National Ballet of Uruguay.

At the same ceremony, the Ambassador of France in Uruguay, Mr. Sylvain Itté, gave him the appointment of Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters, on behalf of the Government of France.

Aleksandar Antonijević

A native of Yugoslavia, Aleksandar Antonijevic studied at the National Ballet School in Novi Sad. He was a soloist with the Zurich Opera Ballet in Switzerland and Principal Dancer with The National Ballet of Canada for over 20 years.

Aleksandar Antonijevic has danced leading roles in most of the major works in the company’s repertoire including principal roles in “Giselle”, “Onegin”, “Romeo and Juliet”, “The Sleeping Beauty”, “La Sylphide”, “Manon” and “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” as well as numerous George Balanchine ballets, including “Apollo”, “Diamonds and Rubies” from “Jewels”, “Theme and Variations”and “Stravinsky Violin Concerto”. He has performed lead roles in “Opus 19/The Dreamer”, “the second detail”, “Forgotten Land”, “Etudes”, “Song of a Wayfarer” and “Chroma”. He created several principal roles in works by James Kudelka, including Prince Ivan in “The Firebird” and Siegfried in “Swan Lake”.

Mr. Antonijevic danced the role of “Petruschka” in the Canadian premiere of “Nijinsky” by John Neumeier as well as the role of Trigorin in “Seagull”. An accomplished international guest artist, Antonijevic has performed with English National Ballet, Inoue Ballet Japan, Ballet Santiago of Chile and PACT Ballet South Africa and has partnered many of the world’s finest prima ballerinas, including Susan Jaffe, Viviana Durante, Lucia LaCarra, Evelyn Hart and Tamara Rojo.

Aleksandar Antonijevic is also an award winning photographer. His work has been featured at CONTACT, Toronto’s annual international photography festival and in eight private exhibitions. He has photographed for some of the major arts organizations in Toronto including The National Ballet of Canada, SoulPepper, Peggy Baker Dance Projects, Pro Arte Danza and others.

In 2011, Aleksandar Antonijevic was awarded the Rolex Dancers First Award for his role as the White Rabbit in “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and in 2009, he won the Dancers First Award for his portrayal of Don José in “Carmen”.

Upon retiring from stage Antonijevic has become a sought after teacher, coach and stager of ballets as well as a juror at ballet competitions. He staged “Nr.24” by Guillaume Cote for The National Ballet of Canada in 2015.

In 2016 he staged parts of Erik Bruhn’s “Swan Lake” on Royal Danish Ballet in Copenhagen, as part of Nikolaj Hubbe’s new production of the same ballet. In 2017 he was invited by the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow to stage a full length production of Alexei Ratmansky’s “Romeo and Juliet” and went back to oversee the world simulcast of the same production in 2018.

In August 2019 he was a member of the jury of Global Dance Competition in Vancouver, Canada.

Anastasia Volochkova

Russian primaballerina Anastasia Volochkova is born in 1976 in Saint Petersburg. Her father was a table tennis champion and coach, and her mother was a tour guide. Volochkova was five years old, when her mother took her to see “The Nutcracker” at the Mariinsky Theatre. “When I left the hall, I told my mother I wanted to be a famous ballerina” Volochkova said.“On the face of it, I didn’t have long legs, and I wasn’t flexible, quick or springy – nothing. All I maybe had was a big wish. I didn’t just take classes – I also had private lessons at home with a teacher. I worked very hard.”

Volochkova was trained at the prestigious Vaganova Ballet Academy by Natalia Dudinskaya. Still a student, Volochkova became the youngest soloist of the Mariinsky Ballet, making her debut as Odette-Odile in “Swan Lake” at the Mariinsky Theatre in 1993. She was a prima ballerina and student at the same time, the first in the history of the Mariinsky. The following year, she received her diploma with
honours, and became a soloist of the Mariinsky Ballet. In 1996, Volochkova won the first prize and gold medal at the 2nd Lifar International Ballet Competition in Kiev.

In 2010, Volochkova graduated with an MBA from the Higher School of Economics. “I plan to create a network of schools of creative education, which will teach the choreography, visual arts, music and ethics”, she has said regarding her future plans.

Between 1994 and 1998, Volochkova danced as a soloist with the Mariinsky Ballet at the Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg, performing in productions of “Don Quixote”, “Giselle”, “La Bayadère”, “Le Corsaire”, “Raymonda”, “Scheherazade”, “The Firebird”, “The Fountain of Bakhchisarai”, “The Nutcracker” and “The Sleeping Beauty”. Together with the Mariinsky Ballet, she also got to tour all around the world, including Great Britain, Belgium, France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Austria, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Bahrain, South Korea, Japan, Canada and the United States, making her US debut at the Metropolitan Opera House in 1995.

From 1998 to 2000, Volochkova danced as prima ballerina with the Bolshoi Ballet at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, guided by Ekaterina Maximova. Volochkova performed in productions of “Giselle”, “La Bayadère”, “Raymonda”, “Russian Hamlet”, “Swan Lake” and “The Sleeping Beauty”, touring throughout Europe as well. Additionally, she also headlined a performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington. In 2001, Yury Grigorovich personally invited her to return to the Bolshoi Ballet to dance Odette-Odile in “Swan Lake” at the Bolshoi Theatre, for which Volochkova was awarded the prestigious Prix Benois de la Danse in 2002. In the same year, she was also awarded with the title of Honoured Artist of Russia.

After various disagreements with the Bolshoi Ballet over the years, Volochkova’s contract was terminated in 2003. It became a major news story worldwide as it was reported that the Bolshoi Ballet had dismissed her for being too tall and heavy. A Moscow court ruled that the Bolshoi Ballet had to reinstate Volochskova immediately and awarded her thousands of US dollars in back pay and damages.
Although the Bolshoi Ballet is officially Volochkova’s employer, she has not been offered a single role by the company since 2004.

On being fired by the Bolshoi Ballet, Volochkova has said: “At that time, I was not dancing either at the Mariinsky or the Bolshoi, and I knew that I had two options – the first was to be afraid of the world of ballet, and the second was to create something new and unusual that would let me stand in front of an audience of my own, independently. I wanted to be a ballerina by my own right and to create in my own name.”

Once described as one of the biggest names in Russian ballet, Volochkova started her solo career in the late 1990s. She has since danced with the New National Theatre Ballet Tokyo, the Bordeaux Ballet and the English National Ballet. In Russia, Volochkova has danced as prima ballerina with the Hermitage Ballet and the Grigorovich Ballet. During the years, Volochkova has also given numerous gala
performances and recitals in Moscow, Paris, London, Athens, Lausanne, Tel Aviv, Abu Dhabi, New York…
In London, she has headlined performances at the Royal Albert Hall, Royal Opera House, Coliseum, Palladium and Sadler’s Wells Theatre, where she made her debut in Rodion Shchedrin’s “Carmen Suite”, based on the opera “Carmen” by Georges Bizet. The ballet was originally staged for Maya Plisetskaya at the Bolshoi Theatre by choreographer Alberto Alonso, and Plisestkaya personally directed the role for
Volochkova. In New York, Volochkova has performed at the Alice Tully Hall of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

As of 2010, Volochkova starred in her first tour of Chile, performing in Santiago, Antofagasta, La Serena, Viña del Mar, Talca, Temuco, Puerto Montt and Concepción. In the show, Volochkova was supported by principal dancers and soloists of both the Bolshoi and Mariinsky ballets.

With her benefit performances, Volochkova has helped to contribute funds for various causes, especially for Russian children, including children with health problems, orphanages of Saint Petersburg and the Beslan victims. She has also supported a secondary school in Saint Petersburg, for example, with an benefit performances in London.

In addition to her career as a dancer, Volochkova has also worked as an actress and a model, starring in films and TV series as well as modelling for Chopard.

Around the new millennium, Volochkova became one of the most famous celebrities in Russia, and has since been featured in newspapers, magazines and TV shows, such as “Ice Age”, on a regular basis.

Itzik Galili

Itzik Galili, who spent 20 years working in the Netherlands, came late to dance. After completing his Israeli army service, he contemplated studying psychology, but was drawn towards dance. He moved to the Netherlands in 1991, where he founded his own company. The Dutch Ministry of Culture nominated him in 1997 as Artistic Director of a new company NND/Galili Dance based in Groningen. In 2009, hemoved to Amsterdam, invited by the newly appointed city company for contemporary dance: Dansgroep Amsterdam (DGA) as co-artistic director together with Kristina de Chatel. He has signed more than 60 works and has created for important companies such as Bale da Cidade de São Paulo, Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, Batsheva Dance Company, Ballet Munich, Cisne Negro, Diversions Dance Company, Dutch National Ballet, Gulbenkian Ballet, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Nederlands Dans Theater, Royal Finnish Ballet, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Scapino Ballet and Stuttgart Ballet. He has received numerous important awards and prizes during his career, while in 2006, he was knighted in the Netherlands on the Royal Order of the House of Orange-Nassau.