Arantxa OchoaDirector of Faculty and Curriculum
Arantxa Ochoa was appointed Miami City Ballet School’s Director of Faculty and Curriculum in June 2016.
Ochoa is one of the most celebrated ballerinas in the history of Pennsylvania Ballet. She joined in 1996 as a corps de ballet member, was promoted to soloist in 1999 and to principal dancer in 2001. In October 2012, after 16 years with the company, she retired from the stage to take on a new role as the principal teacher of The School of Pennsylvania Ballet and master lecturer at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
In September 2014 she was appointed director of The School of Pennsylvania Ballet. Under her leadership the school gained national and international attention for training and educating outstanding classical ballet dancers.
Ochoa was born in Spain and took her first artistic steps as a rhythmic gymnast. At age 11, she moved to Madrid to study at the Centro de Danza with Victor Ullate. She continued her studies at the Academie de Danse Princesse Grace in Monte Carlo, and three years later she was accepted into the prestigious School of American Ballet in New York. She studied with some of the best international teachers of the moment – Stanley Williams, Marika Besobrasova, Suki Schorer, Wilhelm Burmann, Truman Finney and Adam Luders.
Her versatility as a performer and her great interpretive maturity gained her recognition from critics and audiences and allowed her to dance every major role, from the greatest works of classical tradition, to modern and neoclassical choreography. The New York Times wrote about her, “Ms. Ochoa beamed like Audrey Hepburn. When a ballet is in the hands of performers this good, you can sit, relax and bask in its beauties.”
Some of the ballets in her repertoire included: Odette-Odile in the world premiere of Christopher Wheeldon’s Swan Lake, Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Swanilda in Coppélia, Lise in La Fille Mal Gardée, Katherina in The Taming of the Shrew, and the title roles in James Kudelka’s The Firebird and Marius Petipa’s Giselle. Her extensive repertoire of Balanchine ballets included the leads in Apollo, Agon, Bugaku, Ballo della Regina, Concerto Barocco, Divertimento No. 15, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Monumentum pro Gesualdo, Movements for Piano and Orchestra, Prodigal Son, Raymonda Variations, Serenade, Theme and Variations, Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, Western Symphony and Who Cares? Ochoa has also danced leading roles in William Forsythe’s In the Middle Somewhat Elevated, Jerome Robbins’ The Concert and In the Night, Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room and Nine Sinatra Songs, and Peter Martins’ Fearful Symmetries and Waltz Project.
Ochoa had the opportunity to participate in many galas and festivals throughout Europe, including the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland, The Stars of the New York Ballet in London, the Sinatra Festival in Portugal and the Northwest Phalen Tanz in Germany. In 2012 she organized a Gala of Stars to perform in Spain where she was awarded ambassador of Valladolid’s Teatro Calderón.
During her tenure as director of The School of Pennsylvania Ballet, she taught Intermediate and Advanced levels and oversaw all aspects of the training of the school. She carefully constructed an eight level curriculum, adding a pre-professional level comprised of students chosen from the School’s most advanced level. Under her guidance, interest to train in the school grew immensely and the turnout to the National Summer Audition Tour tripled. Ochoa raised funds for student scholarships and established The Herbert and Joyce Kean Scholarship Fund for Boys to provide full-tuition scholarships for boys ages 8 through 17. She produced an annual performance showcasing the whole school, a yearly highlight, where the students had the opportunity to dance works by George Balanchine such as Serenade and Raymonda Variations.