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Ferri & Bocca


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Last year I tried to see Alessandra and Julio dance Giselle and Albrecht; it was her 20th anniversary celebration. Well, she didn't dance, but there was a very brief ceremony at the end--Julio came out and kissed her. I have it on my camera, but it didn't zoom very well. It is a treasure to me. Wish I knew how to share it with you...

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Ferri and Bocca are two dancers of whom I have many, many fond memories of, both together and separately. When I heard Bocca was retiring this year, I invested in the print of them together in Manon, even though it is one ballet that I have not seen them perform (if I were in NY at the time, I would definitely go this year).

I was however at his farewell performance of Romeo a couple of years ago. Yes, there were a couple of baubles in the lifts that were not there a few years earlier, but there was such magic in the performance, such a rare and wonderful thing. I remember Bocca took a final curtain call at the end for himself, and you could feel such the love and affection of the audience for him. He brought Ferri out at the end to share it with him, and it was just such a wonderful moment.

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Ferri and Bocca's partnership has provided the most magical moments in ballet for me. Their performances are my most cherished. I'm going to take my time and try to write an eloquent tribute to them later although I doubt my words could do much justice to them.

On dancing opposite Julio's Romeo, here is what Alessandra says in Rosalie O'Connor's book "Getting Closer":

"This ballet brought Julio and me so close that suddenly we were not ashamed to stop acting and instead just to be.

I know he looks at me and I look at him and not at an imaginary Romeo and Juliet. He became my love."

In Julio's spanish autobiography of sorts (it is basically a one-hundred-something page long interview), Alessandra writes about three pages about him and their partnership towards the end. I have this part saved on my computer, messily translated on Google of course, but it is worth the read, and I'll post that a bit later as well.

For now, here is a collection of some of my most favorite Bocca-Ferri images:

Bocca and Ferri image gallery

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Thank you, Giselle05. Thank you! Thank you!! What a great collection. The two Other Dances photos show exactly what isn't in most performances of this ballet: their physical and emotional involvement is more alive in these still photos than others achieve in real life! Have you ever seen a more happy ballerina than Alessandra in the 1992 Balanchine photo?

Please keep your promises about your tribute and that translation. I'm sure you'll also be posting some intense reviews later in June.

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An excerpt from Alessandra's piece from Julio's autobiography..from around 1995.

"When I saw Julio for the first time we were both young, he was barely nineteen years old and I was twenty-two… It was in Giselle that exploited between the two of us this love. It was just then that I realized, and I believe that he also, that there was so much affection and so much in common. What one feels in those moments is love, when you are naked in front of the other and you see them for what they are, strengths and weaknesses, lights and shadows. On the stage the two of us abandon completely to this feeling; only thus can be born a magic partnership that causes sounds to the public. I saw that when I looked at him in the eyes, Julio was there. In reality we did not speak, not that there was need, it was something felt: as it happens among bride and groom, when at times the words do not serve; the love is, and suffices.

And thus when they ask you with whom you want to dance, you respond "with Bocca" without needing to reflect, without almost knowing why…The love, certainly, cannot be lived alone… Each time that we have danced Romeo and Juliet, our union intensifies itself, and now Romeo is for me Julio, and the result is that it is very difficult for me to think about another partner. With the course of the years, grew among us a beautiful friendship. The intense moments that live themselves in our work unite us a lot. They were nine years of large emotions. But they were not only beautiful moments, because our relation is authentic and, as in every relation, in every history of love, there are moments in which the two are well... but when one of the two has difficulties, the other goes to their side. And there were even moments of tension...But when we dance all other feelings pass thanks to all the respect and all the love that we have. Also transformed is our mutual confidence- our international career as guest artists led us to dance together throughout the world. We found ourselves alone in the hotel, the two of us having dinner, and a friendship of words was born- we opened up to each other and trusted things from one to another...The value of our union is notified, exactly, in the difficult moments. When I find myself very nervous, for me to dance with Julio is fundamental, because I have the security of an optimal partner; but above all, it helps me psychologically. While we dance he looks me in the eyes and gives me courage, tells me "you Give him, Go him". I do thesame thing when I see that he is the nervous one. In those moments one tries to be more sweet, and dances with the conviction that that sweetness arrived at the heart of the other and will help it. Looking at another in the eyes and seeing that he gives you all brings you to say: "I do it for him, the others do not count."

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I saw them together in Taming of the Shrew. They were so funny and lovely in that piece.

Then I saw them in Giselle and after the lights were on right after the first act, I don't think I saw a single person that wasn't in tears around me. Same thing with the second act. There was magic in the Metropolitan Opera House that night. I never got to see them live in Romeo and Juliet, just saw them in that movie Ballet and even though it's just a video, I could still feel so much passion going on in there.

Too bad I won't be able to see them on June 2nd, I wish I were in NYC!!! I mean, that partnership...and in Manon too!!! I'm sure it will be amazing.

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The end

For now, here is a collection of some of my most favorite Bocca-Ferri images:

Bocca and Ferri image gallery

Those remarkable Other Dances photos, 13 years after their first NYC performance of the ballet are testimony to an ever-growing partnership. From the Times review of that first, in 1991:

With the possible exception of Gelsey Kirkland, however, none dared infuse the ballet's performances with the same unabashed high mannerisms provided by Mr. Baryshnikov and Miss Makarova. None, that is, until Monday night at the Metropolitan Opera House, when Julio Bocca and Alessandra Ferri of Ballet Theater were seen for the first time locally in "Other Dances."

The wonder of this performance was brilliance of nerve, its very peculiarity. Mr. Bocca and Miss Ferri virtually reinvented the choreography, twisting or tilting their bodies into new shapes....

... Moreover, Miss Ferri's low-slung dips into ballet's fourth position characterized an interpretation predicated on the extreme, while Mr. Bocca, stressing his own accents, met her on the same dramatic ground. One never knew what they would do next, and a duet that can sometimes be bland was always alive.

We know what they'll do next. And last. Manon tomorrow and then the end of the greatest modern partnership (well, OK, Diana and Vladimir go on) on Thursday night.

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As mentioned on the Julio Bocca thread, it is perhaps worth repeating here that Thursday will not be Julio and Alessandra's last performance together- according to Bocca's website, they are dancing Manon with the Ballet Nacional de Chile in October.

However, it will be no less emotional: an excerpt from today's NY Sun article, "The Last Bocca Farewell":

But the bedrock of his career has been firmly centered in New York, and what will be mourned perhaps even more than Mr. Bocca's personal exit from the stage is the end of his lauded artistic partnership with Italian ballerina Alessandra Ferri. ..

Mr. Bocca said he felt blessed to have met Ms. Ferri - who joined the company just one year prior to his arrival - so early in their careers with ABT. "With [her], the trust was from the beginning, and now we just feel like one person," Mr. Bocca said, clutching his chest while struggling to explain their connection. "Nobody's going to believe it, but I was always very shy, so she started taking a lot from inside of me," he said.

Ms. Ferri echoed her partner's thoughts. "With Julio, you're not alone on stage," she said. "I've had other won derful partners,but there's always something that we can't share. [Julio and I] live in the moment and we really care for each other, truly. It's a fortune that I wish on other dancers."

Mr. Bocca recalled that a recent fulllength rehearsal of "Manon" flowed so seamlessly for the two that it felt like an actual performance. "Some of the dancers came over and said, 'It's so nice to see the two of you so relaxed together. It's comfortable to watch,'" he said. "And that's the way we feel."

Full Article

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I just hope that Mr. McKenzie watches these last performances with Ferri & Bocca, and if he has an opportunity, put some couples together, that will have some "artistic togetherness". Partnerships are not only great for the artform, but can be great for the bottomline!!!!!

Bravo Ferri and Bocca, a partnership for the ages!!!!!!!

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Been very busy with school, but thought I would take a minute to refresh one of my favorite subjects :innocent:

I was reading the Chicago Tribune and was happily surprised with this beautiful tribute to their partnership from Sid Smith, as part of a compilation of "great performances" in the arts lives of each contributing critic to the Tribune.

The ballet portion, i.e. love letter to Bocca and Ferri, begins on page 4 and ends on page 5.


Here's a sampling:

In ballet, in the years since Nureyev and Fonteyn, we've become accustomed not to expect that kind of electrifying onstage partnership. We arrive at the concert hall poised to look for the luster of lone stars, not the sparks of sizzling duos. Ours is the era of mono-dance.

In March 1992, I settled into my seat at the Civic Opera House prepared to watch "Romeo and Juliet" starring two dancers whose individual work I knew: Julio Bocca, the youthful, hot-blooded Argentine and heir, for a spell, to Baryshnikov's technical prowess, and Alessandra Ferri, a raven-haired Italian ballerina whose many partnerships included Nureyev, Anthony Dowell and Baryshnikov, responsible for luring her to American Ballet Theatre in the late '80s.

Both dancers were among the most prominent artists of their day, accomplished in technique and silky in style. I expected professional zeal. But nothing prepared me for that performance.

Beginning in the balcony scene, maybe the most romantic in all of ballet, they morphed into a whole superior to their two parts. Their technical prowess helped, not to mention their mutual flair for eroticism. But it was something else, too, some volcanic heat bursting forth and then spreading gently outward like an ethereal blanket. The languorous longing with which she inflected her dancing, the heightened alertness of his dashing flights across stage, the super-real desperation of their clutch-all of it transcended the artifice of ballet and evoked the private world of two adolescents in the rapture of infatuation....

On stage, they were, in the most sublime sense of the phrase, making love. To this day, I have no idea how they managed it. As far as I can tell, they were never offstage lovers. And though I saw each with other partners, neither ever clicked so well with anyone else. Blessedly, unlike the offstage variety, which so often fades, their amour never did.

...plus a lovely picture:



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