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Miami City Ballet Appoints Arantxa Ochoa as Miami City Ballet School’s New Director of Faculty and Curriculum

by Gina Halley-Wright
July 6, 2016
Miami, FL
Miami City Ballet and Miami City Ballet School are pleased to announce that Arantxa Ochoa will join the School as its new Director of Faculty and Curriculum. Her appointment comes after three years of steady growth and expansion of the School under the leadership of MCB Artistic Director and MCB School Chairman Lourdes Lopez and Darleen Callaghan, who remains as Director of School Administration.

Lopez comments:

We are all thrilled and looking forward to welcoming Arantxa to the MCB School family. As a graduate of School of American Ballet and having danced so many of the Balanchine works during her years at Pennsylvania Ballet, she brings with her the Balanchine training and aesthetic we follow at both School and Company.
Through her own training in Spain at Victor Ullate Ballet, as well as her exposure to the classics, she is also uniquely positioned to develop and nurture the kind of dancers MCB School is committed to training: well-rounded artists. Arantxa further strengthens our diverse faculty and brings with her years of experience and leadership as a dancer, a teacher and a director of a ballet school.

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 was accepted into the prestigious School of American Ballet in New York. She studied with some of the best international teachers of the day – Stanley Williams, Marika Besobrasova, Suki Schorer, Wilhelm Burmann, Truman Finney and Adam Luders.

She joined Pennsylvania Ballet’s corps de ballet in 1996, was promoted to soloist in 1999 and to principal dancer in 2001, becoming one of the most celebrated ballerinas in the history of the Philadelphia-based company. 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.”

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 September 2014, Ochoa 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.

“I spent 20 wonderful years of my life at Pennsylvania Ballet and The School of Pennsylvania Ballet as a dancer and teacher,” says Ochoa. “It has been an extraordinary experience leading the school, and it breaks my heart to leave all the students who I love so much, but this is a wonderful opportunity for me and I am very honored and excited to be working with Lourdes Lopez and all the MCB family. It really is a privilege to be part of this great organization. I love Lourdes' vision and I can’t wait to help take this amazing school to new heights.”

Together, Ochoa and Callaghan will continue to build MCB School’s capacity and reputation for providing solid Balanchine-based training at the highest levels and preparing students to join Miami City Ballet and other illustrious dance companies. Additionally, Ochoa’s native language of Spanish will serve to further strengthen the School’s relationship with Latin America that Callaghan has been successfully cultivating during her tenure.

“I am so looking forward to working with Arantxa on continuing to build Miami City Ballet School into one of the premier training academies in the nation,” says Callaghan.

Ochoa will begin her role on August 1 in time for the 2016-17 school year. Her full bio is available at miamicityballet.org/school/faculty.
Arantxa Ochoa

Arantxa Ochoa

Photo © & courtesy of Alexander Iziliaev

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