has dedicated body and soul to flamenco (and all forms of Spanish dance) for the past 27 years, & other different forms of dance since she was 8 years old. A native of Boyle Heights & raised by her father, she has never forgotten her roots and is a firm believer in giving back. Toward that end, she has found that the arts are an important way to help at-risk teenagers in gang-infested neighborhoods achieve their highest potential. She uses the artistry and discipline of flamenco, fitness, and Mind&Body as a method for kids and teens to learn how to overcome challenges in their lives (and have fun at the same time!) through teaching or hosting activities in dance, fitness, singing, percussion & guitar.
Through programs sponsored by the City of Los Angeles, Rocio has taught in South Central Los Angeles; Watts; East Los Angeles; Lincoln Heights; Mid-City; Compton; Boyle Heights; Highland Park; and other districts; by introducing the children of these neighborhoods to a different cultural heritage, she teaches them about another environment outside of theirs. Rocio has also worked alongside with the California State Department of Mental Health teaching skills to abused children through dance movement therapy.
In addition to that, Rocio was invited to Zürich, Switzerland by their ‘department of children’s mental health’ to go into a children’s group home facility, for sexually abused children, to share & train employees, with hands on with the children, in ‘creative dance & theatre/theatrical therapy’ instructional methodical ideas, which included anger management skills, social skills, etiquette skills, & other skills to teach the children to open themselves up by using all elements of urban pop-culture, poetry, improvising body stylized shapes & forms, musical theatre, skits, flamenco dance, & modern to creative dance which would slowly & safely have them face their fears through routinely performances.
This recreational therapy method would safely uncover a child’s tragic past & present, & bring about an emotionally healthier view & approach toward a harmonious future. Rocio’s methodical instructional goal approach would be to gradually reduce children’s psychotherapy medication dosages to the point where minimal to no approximate medication would be needed in order for the youth of today to function in their environments & bring about a normal and peaceful society to themselves.
Rocio currently gives seminar's at Mount Saint Mary's College in dance, nutrition & fitness. At Mt. Saint Mary's College, Rocio continues to be invited to teach dance as a way to stay fit (one of them being Rak's Sharqui aka Belly Dance); in addition to that, Rocio also continues to be invited to MSMC to teach a fusion of academic and movement seminars on the importance of nutrition and fitness pin-pointing research studies on how the body works and it's reaction toward a healthy lifestyle versus an unhealthy lifestyle (also using visuals, videos, research study facts, & brainstorming with the students), ending the seminar session with a workout to connect the lesson with the body. ------------->
Rocio has also worked with San Francisco State University in collaboration with the San Francisco Unified School District to teach Special Education skills in reading, grammar, English, math, social sciences, & literature using creative dance/movement & singing methods for children with learning disabilities.
In addition to performing, Rocio taught hip-hop, jazz, modern, and flamenco dance at the Los Angeles Music and Art School and the Arte Flamenco Dance Academy as well as various dance academies in Southern & Northern California & the Eastcoast, and has lead workshops & master instensive classes in Washington, Idaho, Utah, California, Florida, Nevada (Nevada Ballet Theatre - flamenco intensive series), Louisiana, Texas, Japan, Mexico, Spain, Argentina & in Greece where she recieved first place in the 'Kamulta Dance Festival' for best artistic direction in a group choreography fusing elements of Flamenco, Contemporary & Post Modern Dance, oriental dances of Egypt & Turkey with an emphasis in Indian Bharata Natyam & Kathak. She has also been an adjudicator at dance competitions as a member of Dance Masters of America Association & other dance associations. In the United States, her teachers include Emmy Award-winner Roberto Amaral (whom Rocio still studies with), Gabriela Garza, Sarita Ayala, and Yaelisa.
Rocio has also lived in Spain where she studied or will continue to study with 'flamenco masters' Juana Amaya (Sevilla), Manuel Betanzos (Sevilla), Los Farrucos (Triana Sevilla), Candela Soto (Madrid), Maria Magdalena (Madrid), El Ciro (Madrid), Domingo Ortega (Madrid & Jerez De La Frontera), Ana Maria Lopez (Jerez De La Frontera), Mercedes Ruiz (Jerez De La Frontera), Manuela Carpio (Jerez De La Frontera), La Chiqui (Jerez De La Frontera), El Kiyo (ciudad de Cadiz), Alejandro De Jerez (in cante).
She has also studied dance at Edge Performing Arts Center, Hollywood CA. with Cindera Che, Malaya, Josie Walsh, Laura Fremont; has studied at Broadway Dance Center & San Francisco Dance Center, ha)s performed jazz & modern dance in Los Angeles, across the nation, to New York, & acquired a Bachelor’s Degree in Modern Dance from one of the top ten dance programs in the United States at the 'School of the Arts' at California State University Long Beach with an emphasis in “Improvisation, Choreography, & Performance”, as well as academically gained the knowledge in such as “Dance In Film”, “History of Dance”, “Stage Lighting Design”, “Costume Making Design”, & "Pilates For Dancers" led by BASI Pilates dance body pioneer Karen Clippinger. Rocio has studied modern dance under the direction of Martha Graham's protege & principal dancer Susan McLain, Alvin Ailey alumni & disciplined in Lester Horton technique Ron Brown, previously Bill T.Jones company member Keith Johnson, award winner Doug Nielson, body biomechanics/Kinesiology with an emphasis in BASI pilates professor Dr. Karen Clippinger (author of Dance Anatomy & Kinesiology).
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Rocio has also studied middle-eatern dance (Raks Sharqui) with Nana Candelaria in Berkeley CA & with Jillina Carlano & The Sahlala Dancers from the Bellydance SuperStars in Los Angeles, CA. & studied & performed with Raks Andalucia in Andalucia Spain. Rocio also teaches different styles of fitness & MindBody techniques like Pilates & GYROTONIC® Expansion System; she is a Pilates certified trainer (certified by Elena D. Bartley who was principal dancer of The Dance Theater of Harlem in New York. Her Pilates studies started in 1995 under Romana Kryzanowska's, then continued studying under Ron Fletcher, Kathy Grant, Pat Guyton and Bob Liekens). Rocio currently works at In&Up Pilates in SilverLake, Pacific Coast Pilates in Pacific Palisades, Hearbeat House Yoga & Pilates Dance Fitness Studio in Atwater Village, Equinox Fitness as a Pilates Trainer in Downtown Los Angeles under the coordination of Ana Caban, & at Xtreme Fitness in California State University Los Angeles campus. She is an ACSM certified personal trainer as well as AFAA certified primary group fitness instructor teaching a variety of group fitness class genres (USA) & FEDA certified (Federacion Espanola de Fitness y Aerobic, Europe); Rocio has taught fitness and MindBody one-on-one & in group classes in Europe, Mexico, & the U.S. in genres such as Pilates, Cario Kick Boxing, Calithenics, Dance Fitness, Yoga, Spinning, Bootcamp, Ballet Fitness, & soon to be a certified DanceAgogo certified group fitness instructor (DanceAgogo is dance fitness class teaching the latest MTV music video moves using Billboard Charting music from Rhianna, LadyGaGa, amonst other top current pop-culture music to give it that night club, music video feel). Rocio has also studied Lindy Hop with Frankie Manning through the Northern California Lindy Hop Society. Rocio currently teaches flamenco & fitness in locations in Los Angeles California & uses high energetic motivation & patience to inspire.
Rocio enjoys learning flamenco from her peers, whether it is a dancer, singer, or musician--all have something to offer. She finds that one of the best ways for her to keep growing and perfecting her love for flamenco is by collaborating and choreographing with her contemporaries. In Sevilla, she created a modern flamenco piece in the palo (rhythm) of Tarantos that utilized five dancers and was filmed in the studio of Juana Amaya with Australian flamenco guitarist Ingmar Strath.
In California, she has performed to sold out audiences at the Fountain Theater, the Ivar Theater, the Ford Theater, the Luckman Theather, La Jolla Gallery Theatre, Anaheim Convention Center, Santa Monica Playhouse Theatre, Martha B. Knoebel Theater, Electric Lodge, Skirball Cultural Center, State Playhouse CSULA, Montalban Theatre, BFA Theatre; & has been invited by the California Peña Andaluza to bring her dance team (company) to perform in the California version of the 'Feria de Sevilla' from Sevilla, Spain. Rocio performed in the sold out off-Broadway world premiere musical "Carment" at the La Jolla Playhouse where she recieved critical acclaim by the 'San Diego North County Times'. She has also performed in Illinois, Idaho, Florida, Washington, Nevada, Utah, Texas, Louisiana, Mexico, Greece, Japan, Spain & Argentina either with other dance companies or as guest artist; been a member of Escencia Flamenca directed by Sara Parra, Ballet Folklorico del Pacifico directed by Jose Vences, & Arte Flamenco Dance Theatre Co, & now her own dance creation of teamed up talented members 'A Vivir El Momento Flamenco' currently in Los Angeles. Rocio performed at the University of Sevilla, Spain, in an important convention that paid tribute to the history of flamenco.
Rocio was also performing member of the Dinner Theatre flamenco fused show in Anaheim, CA called 'Battle of The Dance' directed by Paloma Aznar & Javier Valverde. A highlight of her career was performing with Chati and her cuadro flamenco from Holland, and el cuadro gaditano del pueblo from the Sierra mountains in Ubrique-El Bosque Cadiz, Spain, where she paid a tribute to a well-known torero named Jesulin. Again, in Los Angeles, she has created a collaborative flamenco gathering team, 'A VIVIR EL MOMENTO FLAMENCO!', where her well respected colleagues (who currently perform) & aspiring students can share choreographic cuadro/group ideas in order to perform them live locally, nationally, & internationally.
A delightful fixture on the southern California flamenco scene, Rocio has charmed audiences at Spanish restaurant flamenco 'tablaos' such as El Cid, Costa Brava, La Luna Negra, Tapas, Cafe Sevilla (in San Diego, Carlsbad, Corona, & Long Beach), Sangria, Alegrias, Casa Escobar, Ole Tapas Restaurant, Cafe' Med, Thousand Oaks Scherr Theatre, plus her monthly Flamenco Dinner Shows at Un Solo Sol Kitchen in Boyle Heights (the neighborhood she grew up in). She currently freelances at various venues whether private, public, small or big functions and can currently be seen in different restaurant tablaos and theatre locations. Every year she is invited by her mentor & director flamenco artist Roberto Amaral to perform in his contemporary Fuego Flamenco group that fuses flamenco, pop & rock.
Aside from having a passion for the flamenco arts & fitness/mindbody, Rocio has also dedicated her years as an actor, portraying a variety of roles from supporting, leads, to specialty acts; which include acting, singing, dancing in either Musicals, Television, Commercial, Music Videos, & Film; & is a union member of the 'Actor's Equity Association' & 'SAGAFTRA'. Rocio has performed on stage as an actor not only at the La Jolla Playhouse, but also BFA Theatre, CASA0101, Frida Khalo Theater, State Playhouse CSULA, amongst other theatre across the nation (under AEA jurisdiction) and has done some commercial work under SAG. Rocio also teaches Movement & Voice for actors using different techniques like Alexander Technique, Meisner, Laban Movement Analysis, Feldenkrais Method, Le Coq Movement, The Suzuki Method, Williamson Technique, Margolis Method, Rasaboxes Technique, and Meyerhold's Biomechanics.
Rocio is currently lead vocalist of a rock band called LA BESTIA & on October 2012 packed the House Of Blues in West-Hollywood with 800 audience members coming to support La Bestia band (the show was sold out & the capacity was over it's limit). She has also been lead vocalist of East L.A. bands such as Ollin, Media Blitz, & Fuego Cafe'. Her current & previous band members have been members of The Beastie Boys, The Brat, Thee Undertakers, The Peace Pills, Los Illegals, & the top-40 legendary Cold Duck band as well as Cannibal and The Headhunters. Rocio has shared the stage, locally & nationwide, with bands such as Missing Persons, Bullet Boys, DRI, JFA, Dr. Know, Green Jello, Tiny Tim, Texas Terry, Betty Blow Torch, Aztlan Underground, Calavera, Boca De Sandia, Las Tres, Alice Bag, D.I. (plus too many to name) & has received critical acclaim from Punk Rock magazines such as Skratch, Flipside, & MaximumRock&Roll. Lastly, Rocio was a cast member of Cirque Du Soleil's Ka reperatoire at the MGM Grand Hotel portraying a comically endearing, big-sized nanny performing elements of 'Flamenco to a fusioned themed song piece a la Comedia', acting, climbing walls, boats, & getting harnessed 130 feet above the stage (some aerial work).
Flamenco: A passionate, soulful and inventive performer, Rocio has earned a reputation for fiery footwork and delicate gracia while performing with some of flamenco’s leading lights, including Roberto Amaral, Gabriela Garza, Rafael Aragon, Gabriel Osuna, Clarita Corona, Jacobo Carranza, Antonio Triana, Juan Talavera, Jose Tanaka, Antonio De Jerez, Rosa De Huelva, Oscar Nieto, Pilar Moreno, Cristobal Osorio, Yolanda and Paco Arroyo, Charo, Juan Moro, Lakshmi Basile, Brizeyda Zarate, Kina Mendez, Clare Rodriguez, Mizuho Sato, Vanessa Acosta, Ryan Zermeno, Charo Monge, La Reyes, Johnny Sandoval, Joey Heredia, Gerardo Morales, Gabriel Reyna, Vicente Griego, Paco De Jerez (in Jerez De La Frontera amongst other as seen on this video with el Cuadro Flamenco de Pado De Jerez).
“Rocio Ponce’s hip-hop-tinged bulerias was HOT!,” Planetflamenco.com said of one of her performances with Sara Parra's Escencia Flamenca, “and left the audience wanting more. Rocio puts her heart into everything she does. Do not be surprised if you see a fire extinguisher nearby when she performs; she has been known to leave the stage a pile of smoldering ember, with hoarse and spent admirers in her wake." San Diego North County Times wrote, "Floor-stomping tavern celebration in the second act (led by the marvelously talented Rocio Ponce). As a modern theatrical creation, Dragone’s "Carmen" is a breath of fresh air".
At the moment, Rocio is working on acquiring her Master's of Fine Arts in Television, Film & Theatre at CSULA.