Born in the Munro neighborhood of the Greater Buenos Aires, he started ballet lessons at the age of four, and at the age of seven entered the National School of Dance from where he progressed to the Teatro Colón's Advanced Arts Institute a year later.
A prodigiously gifted youngster, he joined the Chamber Ballet Company at the Colón Theatre in 1981, and a year later had already performed as soloist at the Colón in a production directed by Flemming Flindt. In 1985, aged just 18, he won the Gold Medal at the International Ballet Competition in Moscow and was invited to join the American Ballet Theatre by Mikhail Baryshnikov. Though Bocca was a principal dancer with ABT, he enjoyed a lenient contract that allowed him to perform as a guest artists with other companies.
He was much in demand and thrilled audiences at La Scala in Milan, the Paris Opera, the Kirov of Saint Petersburg, the Royal Danish Ballet, the Cuban National Ballet and the National Ballet of Madrid. A performance with the Royal Ballet in London prompted a reviewer with Dance Magazine to rave about "his irresistible combination of passion and gallantry." He even fulfilled his teenage dream by dancing a season with the Bolshoi Ballet.
Since his win at the 1985 International Ballet Competition, Julio Bocca established himself as one of the twentieth century's most renowned dancers. "There's something about his very person that attracts you," a ballet director told Dance Magazine, "not only his great technique and talent, but he dances as if his soul depended on it." He has danth almost every major ballet company, including nearly two decades with the American Ballet Theatre in New York City. Fans say that he can defy gravity, effortlessly fly across the stage, and spin an impossible number of pirouettes all with exacting precision and unbridled passion. "Julio has a magnetism," his artistic director in New York told Dance Magazine. "He's this combination of totally controlled and on the edge." Though the ballet world may adore him, his native Argentina worships him. There he is a superstar easily selling out auditoriums normally reserved for sporting events. His company, Ballet Argentino, is considered a national treasure. Yet for Bocca, fame and fortune is not the point—the dance is. "A good dancer learns to be a dancer," the artistic director of Ballet Argentino told Harper's Bazaar, "but Julio Bocca was born to dance."
In 1990 he fulfilled his dream of creating his own ballet company; the Ballet Argentino, of which he is, as of 2005, the artistic director, and which performs regularly in theatres around the globe. From 1998 to 1996 Bocca often dances with the Argentine dancer Eleonora Cassano. From 1997 to 2001 Bocca's dance partner with the Ballet Argentino was Luciana Paris. In the year 2000 Julio Bocca participated in the international Millennium Day event, dancing in Ushuaia with Cassano and the Ballet Argentino in a performance broadcast to the whole world.
Julio Bocca has also mixed ballet dancing with Tango; a combination that has been very well received by the public. In 1998 he appeared in the film Tango, no me dejes nunca (English title:Tango), which gained him a new audience. In combining ballet with tango, he has often worked with the tango choreographer Ana Maria Stekelman. Bocca's reperoir with Ballet Argentino also includes contemporary, jazz, ballroom and modern styles of dancing.
Bocca danced his farewell performance with ballerina Alessandra Ferri in the American Ballet Theatre's production of Manon on June 22 and 23, 2006. He continued to perform with his Ballet Argentino until his retirement from dancing at the end of 2007.
His biography, Julio Bocca, La Vida en Danza, by the French journalist Angeline Montoya, was published in Argentina in March 2007 by the Spanish publisher Aguilar.
He was named director of the Ballet Nacional SODRE by Uruguay's president José Mujica in March 2010. Served as a president of the jury at the Prix de Lausanne ballet competition in 2016.
The awards Julio Bocca has received include:1985 - Golden Medal 1985 (International Contest) in Moscow.
1986 - Primus Inter Pares in Buenos Aires
1987 - Dancer of the year 1987 (New York Times), in New York City
1990 - Acquidanza in Acqui-Terme, Italy
1990 - Gino Tani Award, in Rome
1990 - Best International Classic Dancer (Iberoamerican Dancing Association) in Barcelona
1991 - Léonide Massine in Positano, Italy
1992 - Prix Benois de la Danse (International Coreografers Association) at the Bolshoi Theatre
1999 - Platinum Konex for Male Ballet Dancer (Konex Foundation) in Buenos Aires