More About the Author
In his foreword to Octavio Roca's new Cuban Ballet, Mikhail Baryshnikov writes: "What makes the Cuban dancers stand out, I think, is their ethics. They have a respect for ballet from an early age. It's been said before that no one is born a dancer; you have to want it more than anything. These Cubans want it and feel privileged to be a part of it. They give themselves completely. I know that Octavio Roca's love of Cuba is as profound as his knowledge of ballet, and I know this book is from his heart."
Alicia Alonso, the indomitable founder of the Ballet Nacional de Cuba and one of icons of dance history, says in her foreword to Octavio's book: "Cubans are a dancing people. Dance matters to us, and it matters deeply. Octavio Roca, whom I have known for decades and who has known us his whole life, has seen our dancers at home and abroad as well as on tour and with other companies. As a guest of the International Ballet Festival in Havana, Octavio Roca was able to observe the Cuban dance movement in its own environment and to witness the Cuban School of Ballet in all its richness. For me, his critical writing on dance carries a unique sensitivity to an art for he clearly loves."
Octavio Roca has been music and dance critic for The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The San Francisco Chronicle and the Miami New Times. He wrote Scotto, More Than A Diva, and his works for the stage include commissioned translations of Stravinsky's The Soldier's Tale, Mascagni's Our Friend Fritz, Gluck's Orpheus and Eurydice, and Monteverdi's The Coronation of Poppea, as well as the original libretto for Lucia Hwong's oratorio The Unwelcome Rhythm of Your Pulse. He studied at Emory University and Georgetown University, has taught philosophy at the University of Miami and Barry University, has lectured on the arts at the Smithsonian Institution and at the Catalan Theater Institute of the University of Barcelona, and is now chair of the Arts and Philosophy Department at Miami Dade College. He lives in Miami Beach, where he used to be a lifeguard a while back.