The Rock School has a certain reputation: “The kids call the school ‘Pirouettes R Us,’ ” says director Bo Spassoff. But although it’s become most well-known for producing technically dazzling dancers, The Rock also has another side. For many students, it’s a lifelong second home. Case in point: Three of the most prominent Rock alumni—Beckanne Sisk, Christine Shevchenko and Esteban Hernandez—will return to the their old stomping grounds this Friday to perform in a special gala benefit celebrating the school’s 50th anniversary. For fun, we asked Spassoff what these dancers were like as kids.
Beckanne Sisk, Ballet West soloist
“She came to the school at 13—she was a wobbly colt. Wet spaghetti! A little over four years later she joined Ballet West and has had a Cinderella story there. Beckanne still comes back for the Rock Summer program to stay in shape and perform, and she’s a shining example for students. She always has a ready smile for everyone. ‘Breaking Pointe’ recently spent a day here filming with Beckanne and her friend; that should air this summer.”
Esteban Hernandez, Royal Ballet School student
“While he could be a handful at times, he’s become a mature and very intelligent young man. And he’s a spectacular dancer. He’s going to be the first Mexican to graduate from the Royal Ballet School, and then will join the corps of San Francisco Ballet this fall.”
Christine Shevchenko, American Ballet Theatre corps member
“Christine was local and lived with her mother. Even at 8 years old she was disciplined and unstinting in her work ethic, and that never changed. She became the first American-trained dancer in 24 years to win a gold medal at the Moscow International Ballet Competition—Natalia Osipova won bronze that year. Christine is amazingly strong technically and has exquisite artistry, but she’s also always polite and kind. She’s proof that you can be successful in ballet and be a delightful, caring person at the same time.”