Julio Bocca and Alessandra Ferri have shared the stage many times during their successful partnership which began in the 1980s when the American Ballet Theatre brought them together – it was a professional relationship that continued until Bocca retired in 2007.
Recently they have been working together once again, though this time Bocca is the maestro and Ferri the dancer, starring in Wayne McGregor’s piece AfteRite, which has its final performance in Milan this evening.
At La Scala they first danced together in La Bayadère in 1992, then Le baiser de la fée in 1993, Manon in 1994, and Romeo and Juliet in 1995, and then again in 2002.
The company’s director, Manuel Legris, has invited Bocca to work with the company in the past and he has been invited back next year. This time he has been giving class and preparing the dancers for Giselle which opens on Saturday. He will return to Italy in September to stage Carla Fracci’s version of Giselle which will be brought back to the stage of the Rome Opera to honour the Italian ballerina who died last year. She was the director of the Rome Opera Ballet company for ten years.
“Meeting up with Ale again is incredible,” says Bocca, “with her coming to take class and me as the teacher.”
Bocca nearly danced with Ferri when the work AfteRite was created in 2018: “At the time, when the work was created at the American Ballet, we had talked about maybe doing it together. I asked for a month to let me think. I took some classes and started to move around a bit to see how I felt because to go back on stage I wanted to look good, to feel comfortable, but no. All that responsibility and pressure again… I didn’t dare. So, for me this means me seeing a work that could have been created for Alessandra and for me.
“It’s a magnificent piece that has much to do with the reality we live in today and the fact that we continue to destroy what we have. It’s very contemporary. And Alessandra looks divine; in top form!
“Meeting up with friends and great artists makes me happy, happy, happy!”
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.