Youth America Grand Prix
on April 14, 2017 at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater
In prior years, these galas have honored Natalia Makarova, Vladimir Vasiliev, and David Hallberg. This year’s honoree (and 50th birthday celebrant) is Julio Bocca, the first ballet dancer from Argentina to gain worldwide recognition.
Trained at the National School of Dance and Teatro Colon‘s Advanced Arts Institute in Buenos Aires, Bocca won the Moscow International Ballet Competition in 1985, and was subsequently invited by Mikhail Baryshnikov to join American Ballet Theatre, where he danced until 2006. He also frequently guested internationally, partnering some of the most prominent ballerinas in the world; formed his own company in 1990, Ballet Argentino, performing until his retirement in 2007; and is currently Artistic Director of Ballet Nacional SODRE (the National Ballet of Uruguay), bringing that company into prominence – and in the process reportedly luring Maria Riccetto away from ABT to join him (where she is BNS’s Primera bailarina residente), for which I may never forgive him. Since his retirement, in addition to mentoring dancers with his company, he’s been a frequent judge at both the YAGP Finals and the Prix de Lausanne.
But as balletomaniacs know, these accomplishments are overshadowed in the memory by his passionate and galvanizing performances, and by that quality of being human that one could relate to as well as idolize.
The Gala, titled “Tribute to a Dance Legend,” will also include appearances by many of the dancers he partnered, worked with, influenced, and helped nurture (some of whom are anticipated to perform). As of this writing, these celebrants are expected to include Marcelo Gomes (American Ballet Theatre), Luciana Paris (American Ballet Theatre), Rodrigo Colomba (Ballet Folklorico National – Argentina), Maria Noel Riccetto (Ballet Nacional SODER, Uruguay), Lucia Lacarra (Bavarian State Opera Ballet), Marlon Din (Bavarian State Opera Ballet), Tamara Rojo (English National Ballet), Isaac Hernandez (English National Ballet), Cecilia Figaredo (International tango performer), Hernan Piquin (International tango performer), Joaquin De Luz (New York City Ballet), Gonzalo Garcia (New York City Ballet), Tiler Peck (New York City Ballet), Vitor Luis (San Francisco Ballet), and Yuan Yuan Tan (San Francisco Ballet). Nina Ananiashvili, Susan Jaffe, Cynthia Harvey, and Julie Kent will be attending, but not performing.
Tickets are available online through the YAGP or David H. Koch Theater web sites, or at the DHK Theater box office.