Christina Rocas, like any young ballerina, started out trying to dance like her teacher. Before joining the Joffrey Ballet in 2005, Rocas was part of Ballet Manila in the Philippines, where she tried to imitate the way her teacher, Lisa Macuja-Elizalde, moved. After Macuja-Elizalde helped her find a place with the Joffrey, Rocas began to develop her own artistic style with the help of the Joffrey's Graca Sales.
"At Ballet Manila, I didn't understand a lot about myself, but I thought Lisa was an amazing dancer, so my tendency was to copy her. At Joffrey, I was tempted--I was only 19 when I arrived--to do the same thing and copy people. But I realized that copying people isn't very honest. Graca helped me find out what kind of dancer I really am. I think she had a vision of what I could become."
Rocas will dance the female lead during part of the Joffrey Ballet's Romeo and Juliet at Roosevelt University, May 2-11. joffrey.org
Photo by Cheryl Mann, courtesy of the Joffrey Ballet